Wednesday, 4 April 2007

An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory ...

A writer's mantra! I've read countless how-to books about writing; plot, character, structure, adding description, writing sensually ... and I've learned from each one. I've also devoured writing articles in magazines and on the web. In fact, when I first decided to write with the aim of getting published, I printed out what seemed like hundreds of these articles and popped them in lever arch files - my bookshelves groan under the weight.

But there comes a times when you have to put the books and articles away and just write. Not as easy as it sounds. Because with the acquisition of new knowledge we want to apply it, and if you're like me that means questioning yourself as you write - the "editor on your shoulder" syndrome. This can stifle production and cause a sort of block, so that you convince yourself that everything you get down is pure and utter tripe. I don't want to write this way. I want to enjoy myself, I want to whisk myself away and explore new worlds. To get that heady feeling that comes with the pure joy of just creating. Of course, it's vital we know about structure, plot points and other writerly stuff, but why not just allow ourselves to fly with the first draft? Why not just let our characters take us where they want to go, watch them overcome their obstacles as they fall in love, sigh and cry with them as they battle toward their HEA. Then, with their story told, we can worry about structure and form. But let's just get the words on paper first, get out of our own way and just write.

That's my Easter present to myself ... to go with the flow and allow myself the sheer pleasure of just writing.

What about you? Are you a practitioner or a theorist?



Rebecca said...

yeah - I reckon just write, write, write. That's the only way to get better - all the theory in the world, while helpful,won't write you a good book.

Tricia Jones said...

I certainly second that philosophy, Rebecca, and I'm enjoying writing without the invisible editor on my shoulder!