When inspiration hits, roll with the punch and take it to lunch!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There Is No Wrong To Write

One of the greatest aspects of writing is the freedom of expression. And to do so without the involvement of vocal interaction (listening, answering questions), makes it all the more liberating. Don’t get me wrong, I love good conversation, but sometimes the best way to let thoughts be known is through the written word. This is especially true when searching for just the right term to convey a message.

Something I’ve become increasingly aware of by practicing the art of composition is how easy it is for people to interpret the same phrase in so many different ways. The definitions we assign to certain words can be as individualized as our personalities, and the reactions we have to them may be varied as well. When I first began writing, I found this overwhelming. How would I ever be assured that what I wrote would be understood by everyone in the manner in which I intended? The good news is, I don’t.

As I’ve come to learn, writing stories is writing for the masses. It’s comparable to giving a speech. Not everyone will agree with it. Not everyone will enjoy it’s content. But the reward is, there will be those who appreciate it as it is whether it’s absorbed as intended or taken with an individualized perspective. As in any artistry, there is no wrong to write!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don't Abuse Your Muse!

Not long ago, my fourth grade son’s teacher told me my child was having difficulty with writing assignments. It wasn’t that he was unable to understand the conventions of the language, nor was he lacking in vocabulary. His fluency was fine and he always found a voice, once he got started. So what was the trouble? Ideas.

This came as a surprise since this child not only took it upon himself to create a class newspaper, but also enjoys writing enough to have penned several pieces of fiction for fun. How, I wondered, could he have an issue with ideas?

As it turns out, my son was getting stuck when asked to write about a specific topic. Writing came easily when it was (pardon the pun) an open book, but having to stay within certain parameters was enough to cool his creativity to a frozen state. If ideas didn’t erupt immediately, he felt he was a terrible writer. That’s when I let him in on a secret. I asked if he would tell a friend what he tells himself during those times. After an emphatic, “No way!”, I said, “Why then, would you do this to your muse?” Being the speculative student he is, he pondered the question as I explained how harmful this is to the spirit of expression and how it can block the influx of ideas. This made sense to him…somewhat. Then it donned upon me what I really needed to say: Don’t abuse your muse!

Like a person, a muse deserves respect and patience. Negative thoughts can send one running, hiding, or at best, up a tree. Being impatient and expecting words to flow too fast will render the same result. Instead, your muse will tell you what it needs to say. It may not sound like you think it should in the beginning, but give it time. Rewriting is fine. The first step is just to get the words on paper.

With that explanation, I felt I’d made a connection. And while I have yet to see if my son took the advice to heart (no writing assignments this week) the least I’ve gained is a new motto!