Writing 101; day 1 – Unlock the mind.
Today’s task is to free-write for 20 minutes straight without stopping. In the past I’ve attempted these types of exsercises in an effort to produce something tangible. I tend to have an on and off relationship with my writing, and I find that usually I’m overly critical of myself. Aren’t we all I’m assuming. I’m here – in a genuine attempt to find my own personal voice in the WordPress community and in the broader writing world. So here I am. Day one of the challenge. Breathe in, breathe out.
I’m finding that now, more than ever, I’m trying to find my own personal voice that is unique to me. I’m attempting to find a way to set my writing apart from the others out there. With such an immense amount of authors, writers, bloggers; you name it, it’s hard to set yourself apart.
All writing is rewriting.
I suppose as a step one we should discuss where I get my inspiration from. Who do I read? My favourite author of all time is Anne Michaels. A poet-turned-novelist, she touches my inner soul with her prose and poetry. Her innate ability to transform words into a surreal experience, is one of the first reasons I became interested in writing.
I love historical fiction, as a genre. So many lost stories, so many ghosts.
Maybe as a step two we should try and form a style. Lots of dialogue? Too chatty, maybe. Should I try haikus instead?
What is this thing, here?
I think it’s called a ‘haiku’.
Oh, never mind then.
Not sure if haikus are the way to go. Maybe instead I should go the long, fiction route. Action packed stories, lots of TWISTS! Well constructed, in depth characters with deep, personal dilemmas. Stick some paper on the wall and develop a good CHARACTER for gods sake. Create a plot line, a great, impactful beginning incident, a collection of events leading up to an epic moment. Then boom, climax! A series of regressing events, to a final – but expected conclusion. Lots of thoughtful personal details. A button sewn in the wrong place, a persons fidget. An impactful ending that teaches a lesson. Love your flaws, be a good neighbour, you’re a cog in a much bigger wheel – play your part. Those warm and fuzzy places we find ourselves at the end of a well written story. Fiction or not.
What about non-fiction? To be honest, I don’t think anybody would be interested in my life. It’s very uneventful. Every week is, usually the same. Lots of movies, lots of reading. What I do for a living is a dull affair. Sometimes I attempt to write in an effort to feel better about myself. I usually just land in a sneaky, hate spiral.
Hmmm… so maybe instead I should do this new thing called ‘flash fiction’ or .. something with a similar name. I’ve been participating in weekly challenges that provide a photo prompt to write a piece of flash fiction. It’s been really fun – and I will of course continue, but I find that I’m not able to develop the story enough. Maybe I enjoy them so much cause it doesn’t involve an overly large commitment of time or thought. Maybe I’m a half-assed writer? Oh no!
So instead. Should I attempt poetry? It’s always seemed far too daunting for me to attempt. Do I make the lines rhyme? Am I trying to shoot for confusing, but big worded similes and metaphors? How long should it be, and what should it be about? Is there something special that classifies it as a poem over, prose?
Perhaps a better path for me would be self-loathing, critical satire. Musings about my personal crusade against happiness and a healthy lifestyle. Comedy? Failed relationships? Misery? Everyone loves the loveable fuck-up right? Excuse the french.
I don’t know. I don’t know. Where should I focus my efforts in order to uncover my voice. I’m hoping it’s true that a writers voice is cultivated over time. I’m hoping it’s true that it takes many failed pieces and rejected articles/poems/works of fiction to come to a place where our work is continuously productive, well thought out and most importantly, where we can be proud and learn to love our own works.
I’m hoping that if I practice enough, I’ll get to this place. This ever-elusive, mysterious place. Where writers gather over port and coffee and discuss play writes, poets and novelists. A place where lovers of the craft assemble to share, discover and encourage other creative souls. I imagine this place, it’s a place that I will hopefully be able to join. Until then, I think I’ve found a great community of writers here on WordPress, and it’s been so incredibly fulfilling. Fellow creative spirits encourage and constructively criticize other writers in an effort to develop our craft and find others to relate to. Thanks again, WordPress and The Daily Post but more importantly, thank YOU. Yes, you.