February 29, 2012

When Your Writing Won’t Behave, Part Three: Solving the Problem

Posted in organizing your writing, Practice Writing tagged , , , , at 12:56 pm by Rebecca Hein

We’ve seen that the urge to tell the reader everything can slow down our narrative, confuse it, and nearly make it impossible for us to write. All because of the aftershocks from the initial impetus to write our novel, essay, play, or poem.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: give yourself plenty of time to write freely and without restrictions. This habit, I’ve found, gives free rein to all our sidetracks and off-topic ideas. Over time, these aftershocks spend themselves, and then we can write our main points without so many distractions.

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February 22, 2012

When Your Writing Won’t Behave, Part Two: The Primal Urge

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, organizing your writing tagged , , , , at 6:54 pm by Rebecca Hein

Behind most writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction, lies the primal urge, “I need to tell you this.” It’s irresistible, and probably makes our job easier in the long run because it motivates us. Yet problems of flow and organization arise from multiple urges, like the aftershocks of an earthquake: “I need to tell you this…and this, and this, and this.” Soon your whole narrative is in a tangle, and you can’t see what to leave in and what to take out.

February 14, 2012

When Your Writing Won’t Behave, Part One: Raw Creative Energy

Posted in Creativity, Uncategorized, Writer's Block tagged , , at 3:32 pm by Rebecca Hein

We’ve all had episodes in our writing when our words won’t cooperate no matter what we do. This problem actually defeated me years ago when I tried to write my second book, the sequel to A Case of Brilliance. (link)

My problem was twofold: first, I wasn’t ready to write the book because some of the discoveries that needed to be included in that story lay in my future. Second, I didn’t understand raw creative energy and thus couldn’t manage it.

February 8, 2012

Achieving Synthesis, Part Four: What’s Wrong with Direct Focus

Posted in Right Brain tagged , at 1:51 pm by Rebecca Hein

It’s logical to try to recapture something you’ve done well. Yet if you forget about it and focus on nothing at all, you’re much more likely to get it back. Additionally, it will probably combine with a new idea, thus propelling you even farther along.

Single-item focus, often identical to those attempts to recapture your best work, inhibits your right brain. The business of the right brain is synthesis: to combine, recombine, process, and invent the tools for the next stage of your artistic development.

It can’t do that if you’re trying to hang onto one of the many elements it’s working on. Thus, to help it do its best work, release all your ideas, all your plans, even all your hopes for a project, and know that this in turn releases your right brain to think. If you can really let it all go, you’ll be rewarded with that creative leap you’ve been looking for.

February 1, 2012

Achieving Synthesis, Part Three: Why Letting Go Works

Posted in Creativity, Right Brain tagged , , at 1:43 pm by Rebecca Hein

Recent cello practice sessions have begun with my realization that the best way to activate my right brain is to forget about what I’m doing while I’m doing it. “Forget about it” seems to deactivate the linear, literal left brain and encourage my intuition and imagination.

Before I know it, sensations of prior excellent playing come flooding back, and I float into the music and beyond. Totally immersed, I stay in that magic spot and play better yet.

Writers can do the same if they learn to trust the right brain. Why focus on one character, plot line, sentence, or paragraph, when the sensation of flowing words will automatically improve all these elements? The struggle for the right word or the perfect twist of plot vanishes as you quit trying to make anything work at all, and instead just write.