Posted on February 12, 2019
Phooey. Writing is not some fun activity. It’s dreadful trying to write the whimsical yet solid ideas from your mind to the paper. Somehow, I can imagine the plot, setting, characters, everything flowing so smoothly in my head but when it comes to expressing it on to paper, it comes out tumbling like a dozen orcs trying to delicately avoid the grass in a prairie. Yeah, they clearly don’t go through without crushing a heck ton of grass. But I still come back to my desk, trying to spin my webs with their gaping plot holes.
Like, Lamott discusses in “Shitty First Draft”, it’s not easy to create a beautiful writing piece on the first try. Unless, you’re that special person who somehow managed to have acquired the legendary writer’s halo. Lamott says in order to write, you just got to have to put it all down. Instead of trying to carefully maneuver your train of thoughts, just let it go wild and wait for it to crash and explode over your paper. Then, go over the wreckage and take out what you like and remove what you don’t like. I’m inclined to Lamott’s idea of just going for it. However, it really shows a lot of your personality. As you can see when I just go for it, my thoughts come out littered all over the paper and it’s certainly not lyrical or proper.
Murray “The Maker’s Eye” is much more specific in what you need in your writing and clearly defines strategies. While it certainly is not as funny or crude as Lamott “Shitty First Draft”, it gives more information and definition to writing a draft.
A few really good tips from “The Maker’s Eye” that I should utilize are to search for that thread that links everything together, going through the paper word for word, and getting special glasses.
Often, I just write something and if it flows, then it’s Gucci. But clearly, I’ve been going through this in not the best way. My writing should have a thread tying everything together. But, sometimes it doesn’t. Going through my writing word by word is also a great idea, but it’s tedious, not often utilized and largely depends on how much I love the writing piece. I don’t even need to address the idea of getting special glasses. Just the phrase, evokes what a good idea it is.
From “Shitty First Draft” a great tip for taking control of all the voices in your head is to imagine if they were mice and just place them in jars. I think it’s brilliant and I’m glad that was shared. Sometimes, I want to put the annoying ones in time-out. Or the upsetting ones in a box until I can deal with them. But I don’t have great control over my mind half the time. That’s why my drafts usually sound like a mess. But these tips are all really helpful and will improve my writing.
Image of mice for dissection from Shimun’s art blog.