Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Next Level Writing

Last night after work I could not start a regular work method in creative writing, realizing in the early morning as I awoke from sleep, that my writing experience is not suited for creative endeavors; journal writing being a contemplation of actual life events. On the other hand,  creative endeavors is more like grasping stories from the air, working from scratch with inspiration from the ether; something that I actually don’t have experience  which makes me think that another method is required - a method more suited to creativity.  Diarist or blogger’s pen to paper experience is more like transcribing actual events, distilled with reflection and personal thoughts, unlike the creative craft of novelist or authors. Hence, journal writing is much easier to do; easier to create a daily technique because it’s simple to do; the mind working in a mode of recollection and contemplation; no aspect of divine inspiration or imagination which is direly needed by creative work. But what has been gained is a facility in general writing; more attuned to working as a scribe than an author where creativity and imagination is the prime ingredient.

This brings to mind a text book that I read long ago called ‘Writing the Natural Way’ by Gabriele Rico, where techniques like clustering and other visual tools helps one use both right and left brain in creative writing; a technique that I think would be helpful as my left brain maybe blocking my naturally creative impulse, i.e. right brain thinking. This visual ‘clustering’ technique, together with dictation, should allow me to construct a regular routine; using software like Dragon Digital Speaking to transcribe spoken words into computer text, thereby freeing me from the technical task of writing; therefore allowing one to focus on that illusive inspiration one needs in creating stories from the imagination, from the ether of divine inspiration, pouring forth words that will be corrected later when one has the time to fix the first draft. Constructing a work ethic is truly the first challenge of the novelist, something I realized in the weekend, listening to an NPR feature in the radio about a 29 year old author who is now a millionaire; who did not study in college nor took a creative writing course, but wrote draft after draft of novels until a consistent work ethic enabled her to self-publish until the inevitable success came almost like a certainty. Her books on the paranormal and vampire romances may have helped in her success too.

I guess I write to know what I am thinking about, to organize my thoughts and synthesize the day’s learning, not really a creative act but more a method to understand life; the diarist being a person of reflection and not an imaginative artist. But one hope to take advantage of the writing experience gained from contemplation and brings to another level - that of creative writing but the mental mode is different, thereby requiring a different set of cerebral gears; the equipment for creativity not really utilized in blogging. The key skill for a novelist is storytelling, not reflective reporting which is the prime skill of the diarist; more akin to essay writing with no thought on character, plot, theme, dialogue and so on which are important elements in storytelling. This is where tools like visual ‘clustering’ and dictation may be useful to jump-start the creative process; to ascribe to another level where verbal skills (honed in Toastmaster?) can help actualize the story telling skills; by placing the person in a different atmosphere, reserving the actual writing process in editing, revising and other tasks that is more ‘mechanical’; that don’t require imagination or creativity. Perhaps one day one can get rid of these ‘tricks’ or tools once one has gotten used to storytelling. 

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