Minuscule Writing

I’ve always thought of March as a blustery month. If you’ve ever read the book Winnie to Pooh or have had it read to you, you probably remember one of the first scenes where Winnie the Pooh was describing the day as being blustery, full the whirlwinds dancing on the ground. This March has been filled with winds, both the literal kind and the figurative ones. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so skittish.

My writing has come to a standstill, or at least almost. Even thinking about the story sometimes puts me on edge these days. Still, on days when my digestive system isn’t playing havoc with me, I sit down at the computer and try to get some writing out on the screen. I might get down one hundred to two hundred words in an hour’s time and quit. It’s pathetic.

A little more than halfway into March, I read a post by Lauren Sapala at A Writer’s Path. Lauren explained that many writers write with full control over the entire project, which, for some writers, leaves no room for creativity, making that total first draft flat, including the characters. She suggested writing in response to the story instead. What I got from this post was that I wasn’t allowing the story or the characters to have a life of their own. Me being a realist, I knew right away that Lauren was talking to me. As a realist, I, of course, knew I had dreamed up the characters of my story and, therefore, had full authority over them. I had total control over the entire project because it was all in my head; none of it was real. However, this domination wasn’t giving any wiggle room for conflicts, action, or emotions of my characters. In other words, I’ve been trying to write with my hand around the throat of each one of my characters, pulling and tugging at them to do as I command.

None of the above means I have to start from scratch, saints be praised. I still like what I’ve written so far. I just have to let up on the reins and let the characters do whatever they want as long as they don’t fall into retched snake pits or hanging on to a cliff without any climbing gear. That’s what the reins are for.

§

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

 

17 thoughts on “Minuscule Writing

  1. Glynis, first of all, this is a beautifully written post. I think the hardest thing to do is to face our fears and figure out how to overcome them.That means being honest about the screw ups but not getting discouraged. I know from past articles that your health has proved a struggle recently, and I urge you to be kind to your body. To write a couple hundred words a day is pretty decent – especially if you’re pleased with the outcome. Take care of yourself, the writing will follow. And as for your characters – remind them that you need a cup of coffee once in a while – they should maybe sit down and be quiet, and let you get your work done. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Shari. The post wasn’t as long as I would have liked it but not much else is going on in my life right now anyway. The doctors are trying to figure out what the problem is with my gut. In the meantime, I do what I can to have as normal a life as possible. As for my characters, I’m happy to listen to them right now. My head is filling with ideas I want to explore further.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe you will get going in a few weeks. We all have those weeks or even months wehre we don’t feel productive at all. Could be that we have writer’s block, restlessness or distractions. Good that you like what you’ve written so far. I think it’s better than writing a few thousand words or even a few chapters, and then not liking any of that. That’s what I prefer these days writing my book – take a week or maybe a few weeks to write a chapter, making sure I like it when I am done with it. I find this positive energy makes me want to write the next chapter even more, whenever that might be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, it’s so wonderful to know that I’m not the only one who writes this way. And you’re right. I do look forward to the next chapter what I’ve made sure I like what I’ve written in the previous one. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this post, a lot. I laughed out loud when I read “I’ve been trying to write with my hand around the throat of each one of my characters,“ I only ever write with characters on my Saturday posts, but they do get away from me. Let them have their way, but remind them of who’s in charge. I hope April feels better (literally and figuratively).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve decided to listen to my characters, for a while at least. Doing this is filling my head with ideas. Whether those ideas are good or bad still needs to be decided. April should be a better moth. At least, I’m hoping so.

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  4. That search for your own writing approach is a challenge. It took me 25 years and I probably rewrote my original book (now Born in a Treacherous Time) 3-4 times. But, when I finally got it, I knew it. I think you will too.

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  5. Glynis, I’m a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh books and I love how you refer to this when discussing the inclement and blustery March! I am sure the gales started on the very first of the month and it was an odd end of winter/start of spring.

    How wonderful that you’ve found help and inspiration from Lauren. I think your path ahead for your writing sounds perfect, liberating your creative spirit and letting the characters & story lead. I’ve been to a couple of book talks recently by famous writers, one was a meticulous planner, the other writes with a vague idea of the story but then lets the fictional characters direct.. both successful writers and I think the trick is to find what suits you best! Happy Writing! 😀✏️📓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When my brother and I were little, our mother would read us a chapter of Winnie the Pooh most nights before going to bed. I remember how fascinated I was with the word, blustery that was in the first or second chapter of the story.

      Trying to figure out how I want to write [plotter to pantser with all that in between] has been a big source of my problem. Right now I’m trying outlining scenes as I need them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is so very relevant to me–I suffer from the opposite problem–my characters take me on their own merry round.

    Nowadays, I’ve started gaining back some control by working on character motivations: what do they want vs what do they need? What lie do they believe in? How do their desires make their lives more complex due to the oppositions they face?

    I hope April is a better month for you, health-wise, and with writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your motivation questions may help me loosen my reins. I’ve seen them in several posts of people I follow but until I read it in your comment, they just didn’t register. O_o

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      1. Glad it made a difference. Books that really helped me were Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story, and Story Genius. David Corbett’s The Art of Character, and K M Weilands books on Characters arcs. Unless character arc gives rise to it, a plot arc can feel quite stifling.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve got Story Genious on my list of wants. I just haven’t gotten it yet. I’ll check out Wired for Story and the other two. I have K M Weiland’s workbook for outlines. Thanks. 🙂

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