Cleaning House

Brad’s talked with us a lot about the conditions for writing.

His advice:

Set time apart for yourself (he suggested early in the morning)

No music

No social media (although we are encouraged to tweet/blog fastidiously about our process)

No flirting with somebody on IM (this is the easiest one for me)

One of the things he said to us that stuck is  – If you write with a million other things going on at once, distractions, stimuli, etc. your writing reflects it.

For that reason, I’ve been waking up an hour early for the past two weeks to write a little bit before I go to class. Where I used to browse twitter or read articles during the scene editing process, now I focus directly on the writing.

A lot has been said in the class about flow – that thing that happens where you give into the mechanism of writing and feel like the ideas are flowing through you. Famous writers – people like Flannery O’Connor and Tennessee Williams – are often noted for their fastidious attention to detail in their writing process. John Updike would sometimes write four hours of prep writing in the morning so he could get the drivel out and find the good stuff in the afternoon.

We need not all write the same way, but we do need a process. For me, it’s all directed toward that mystical moment where you can finally stop thinking and start feeling.

Even if it’s terrible, I’m making leaps forward. The least I can do is have respect for the process and my story – everything else, at least for a little while, should disappear.