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Find Your Writing 'Zen'

18 Feb 2018

As writers, we try all sorts of tricks to keep us tapped into our creative fountain. With so many distractions through modern technology and the pressure to always be doing something with our spare time, it can amount to a much bigger struggle than our non-writing peers might first assume. And yet, this intermittent connection can affect our writing in detrimental ways. Stilted progress, lumpy plot. The feeling that we'll never scale the mountain at this rate. But worst of all, I'm talking Telling. 


Oh deary me, yes, the most cretinous of writerly sins -- for the learning majority. And yet it's true. The less connected we feel to our stories, the less connected the reader feels, too. We write from a perspective outside of the character, not within it. If you are anything like me, I need to thoroughly immerse myself in the character in order to take advantage of my launch window (around 9.30 am every weekday).


A story is much easier to edit if it already contains a substantial amount of Showing, so stepping off on the right foot can be only a positive, wouldn't you agree?


In my live writing group, we tackle areas of writing in clusters that spread over several weeks. So, for example, we begin with exercises that help us to get into some kind of a routine, then we move onto a few weeks of description techniques. I don't teach Showing and Telling as an entity of its own -- because it's so tightly interwoven with other areas of writing, I believe it will come about as those other areas are explored and developed.


Currently, we are tackling forward moving scenes, and part of achieving this technique is through being 'in the moment'. Writing the immediate, not what's come to pass already. Absorbing the 'now' of the story, not the 'then'. At least until the main character,  plot and setting is established. There are layers that come later for this technique, for the more advanced writer, but the first stages -- for me-- is about using action and description of what is in front of the character, not what happened to them years before, or yesterday, even.