August 23, 2012

Advice for Writers: Flow Baby Flow

 "We are writers, and we never ask one another where we get our ideas; we know we don't know." - Stephen King
I used to think of myself as a wizard. Writing was like conjuring a ball of light that turned to fire in my hands and I had to hold it until the last possible second before I threw it down. Writing leaves you burnt, exhausted, and in desperate need of more mana.

But a recent visual epiphany has led me to believe that I am not a powerful sorcerer, but a medium. I am a faucet.

A faucet doesn't spend a lot of time wondering if it's good enough. It just does what it's suppose to do. I can recall the first time I declared my purpose. I was in the seventh grade and my teacher Ms. Kreski had re-located my desk for the third time because I was quite the disturbance to the other children. A regular "Chatty-Cathy." When the poor woman stomped up to my desk and saw I was carrying on a one-way conversation with a fly bouncing off the window pane, I just looked at her and said, "I need to talk. It's what I do."

You don't own the water. You didn't create the water, but you need to let it come. People ask me, "how did you make this happen?" I didn't. "Where do you get these ideas?" I don't know.  Sometimes when I'm brainstorming I ask questions like, how are we going to show this? And then I move my pen. I always get the answers. Spooky. Where does it come from? Not my business. I just need to write.

If all you got are drips, you're too tight. Loosen up. Sometimes it takes longer to come down the pipe and I need to sleep on an idea, but answers are always found. I don't believe the Muse leaves us. I think we shut down and stop listening. Thus, writer's block is a problem in us. What are we resisting?

You're an instrument. If you're broken, get fixed. If you're only writing when you're angry, drunk, or "feel like it," good luck with that.

Remember: you're the tap - not the sink. Don't spend too much time writing about what other people are doing. It may pay the bills, but you must create something too. It's why you are here. I walked away from journalism because I could feel myself getting resentful and anxious to do my own thing. Best decision ever.
Hope this visual aid helps people out there who are also trying to navigate through their craft. If you have ideas that work for you, feel free to share them with me.

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