May 30, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part Four

Posted in performance, Practice Writing, self-consciousness tagged at 2:30 pm by Rebecca Hein

Seasoned musicians know that even the most thorough practicing can’t prepare them for the spontaneity of a performance. This is both good and bad, of course, because all your preparations insure you as much as possible against the accidents that can occur in front of an audience. Yet you want an element of unpredictability or your performance will be dull.

In writing, when we know that an editor or agent will be reading our work, we freeze. Yet with enough practice at writing in this self-conscious state, we learn that the fun of storytelling and ideas can take over and even produce some of our best work precisely because we know somebody will be “listening.”

May 23, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part Three

Posted in performance tagged at 7:46 am by Rebecca Hein

The essence of performance or publication is how to make the most of the excitement of it so that you aren’t bothered by nervousness or self-consciousness. Practice and experience are the traditional route, and young musicians are exhorted never to miss a chance to play for anyone, even the plumber.

The more you face up to a difficult task, the easier it becomes. Yet the burst of energy we feel when we know that someone else will be reading what we write isn’t all that manageable. Sometimes we just have to ride that wave and let it take us where it goes.

May 16, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part Two

Posted in self-consciousness, Writer's Block tagged , , at 4:42 am by Rebecca Hein

When you know your story, essay, or poem is going to be read by someone other than yourself, this changes the writing process. You become self-conscious and start wondering if your writing is any good, or if you’re making mistakes you aren’t going to catch.

Yet there’s another side to this: the fun of sharing your ideas, or the sense of mischief you get from telling a funny story, or just the satisfaction of articulating what you have to say.

May 9, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part One

Posted in performance, self-consciousness, Writer's Block tagged , at 4:37 am by Rebecca Hein

Excitement or stage fright: which is it going to be? In musical performance, often I don’t know until I’m in front of the audience.

Even if I’ve been nervous beforehand, sometimes I’m rock-solid onstage, and my playing has that sparkle of energy that hardly ever occurs in practicing because nobody’s listening.

May 2, 2012

Total Absorption

Posted in Creativity, Flow, flow in writing, freewriting, Peak Experiences, writing techniques tagged , , , , at 2:01 pm by Rebecca Hein

When technique and tools disappear, leaving only our work in full flow, our consciousness is altered and we carry the wonder of that experience for days. The problem is that in wishing for a recurrence, we’ll skew it just by trying for it.

If instead we cultivate a state of attentive waiting, we’ll predispose ourselves to more such moments, yet without forcing. In music, attentive waiting can occur anytime you’re playing, and when you let go of everything except that alert, open state of mind.

In writing, especially freewriting, the same applies. Forget trying to write a story, scene, or essay. Forget not trying to write it. Start writing and see what happens, and don’t be surprised when you find that you’ve forgotten everything but the energy of the moment.