All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Those Are the Breaks

Equipment malfunction - it happens in every profession. Maybe that one tool needed for the job breaks, the bulldozer to clear the site is unavailable, or there simply isn't enough manpower available to get things started. A writer will understand this from the moment their pencil breaks or their laptop crashes to the Blue Screen of Death. Sometimes we are all fired up and ready to do our thing, but powers beyond our control have said, "Not today, buddy."

I think we can all agree that this sucks. I went through this very experience today when I got up early and prepared myself for a very entertaining day, only to discover that the one thing I needed to do the job was not working. The manufacturer said they would scout down a replacement, so there was a chance they could have a new one by Wednesday. Maybe. Until then, well, I just had to improvise, which in this case was not an option. This genuinely sucks.

However, at least in the case of writers and other creatives, this presents an opportunity. Since we have all this creative fuel ready to be put to use, let's find a way to use it. For the writer in me, whenever I have come up with the idea for a story but I am unable to write it (this often happens when I go bicycling out along the rural roads), I dictate the story. Not to my iPhone or any recorder, but I start creating the story aloud. I work on the voices, the inflections. I talk myself through the dialogue, I process everything that the story will say, and create an oral version of the story. This may or may not be entertaining to the cows in the pastures I ride past, but hey, everyone's a critic.

Now, if the same thing happens but I am instead on the 5:02 train, maybe it's not the place for my formal recitation of this new story. That doesn't mean that I have to stop. I just need to go through the story in my head. While I sit there, motionless and staring out into nowhere, I let my mind put together all the pieces in their many different forms. I try out phrases that I like, I repeat things in my head and commit them to memory. In that little train car seat in a shroud of silence, my mind churns away on the next great story.

What does this all mean to the average writer of creative type? In its simplest terms, never let creative energy go to waste. Always be willing to flex a different muscle or take something a new direction simply for the sake of progress. Writing may be a very straight-forward process, but committing words to paper is just the endgame. The real energy is burned up between the ears, and there are plenty of ways to do that. It you can't write, then say the words. Recite them. Sing them if it helps. Find their order and place, and crystallize the ideas as much as you can so that when your hands finally touch a keyboard, it will all just fall into place.

And the next time you are driving through the country and you pass a singing cyclist, feel free to say hello.

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