Writing: So easy. And so hard.
Plus, the internal stages and struggles of the creative process.
Hello. At the time of sending this newsletter (or, to sound more journo, ahem: At press time), I have two more days to decide if I’m going to join NaNoWriMo.
It’s really not an end-of-the-world decision. Whether I join or not, life goes on.
But it could very well be the right push to get me started on writing the story in my head.
Last year (or a couple of years ago… who knows? COVID has killed all timeline), I did a seminar by Maggie Stiefvater on writing. And I like how she described writing as transferring the abstract idea in your head into something concrete on the page. (Not the exact quote – she put it in a much more eloquent way of course.)
And that’s really it. That’s what writers and authors do.
Sounds simple, right?
But you bet it’s not.
Neil Gaiman describes writing as:
You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy. And that hard.
Writing. Supposedly such an easy thing to do. I mean, how many times have you heard people say everyone can write? (Some to inspire, some to mock hmmph)
And yet, it’s so hard that those who are serious about it takes a lifetime to master the craft.
All that to say that I’m still staring at my notebook, quivering at the sight of the blank page – terrified that I won’t be able to adequately transfer the idea in my head onto the page.
But who am I kidding? Of course I won’t be able to.
The first draft will most certainly kill my confidence once and for all with how bad and how far away it is from the magnificent scenes playing in my mind.
But then, much like art (which I will talk about more later in this newsletter), if we do not give up and we keep working on it and refining it… We’ll get closer to a finished work that’s somewhat closer to what we had imagined.
Or, perhaps we would find ourselves diverging from the original plan – and stumbling on something even better.
So, pick up the pen and start writing! A word after a word after a word. Edit and refine later.
(I’m trying to drill that into my own head, but it might be sound advice for you too 🤓)
Books, books, books
I did it.
I. Finished. The Hobbit.
Woohoo! I’m so very proud of myself, because I was *this close* to giving up – multiple times. But, I persevered! And I crawled across the finish line!
Now, I feel I should say that I believe in DNF-ing books when you’re not enjoying them. I normally have no qualms about ditching books if I’m still not feeling it by the time I’m one third in it.
But. I start classics knowing that it will be a struggle. And since I have a purpose in reading them, I push myself through.
Read and loved
The Prison Healer trilogy by Lynette Noni is a fast-paced YA fantasy. I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. I loved the twists and turns, the found family, the slow-burn romance, the magic system, the moral dilemmas… It was so good.
I’ve just started Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, and I already have a feeling it’s going to be a 5-star read. As a writer, I’m amazed by how Fredrik Backman strings his words together. It’s done in a seemingly effortless way, but boy, do they pull on the heartstrings.
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The tricky creative process
I’ve noticed a pattern of ‘stages’ when I’m painting with gouache.
It always starts with, “This is fun!”
Okay… I don’t know how I feel about this.
This looks quite ugly.
Never mind, I’ve got this. I can fix it up later.
Oh my god. Ugly.
It’s okay. Breathe. Just keep going.
This is terrible.
I am terrible.
I’m never going to paint ever again.
Hmm it might be okay. Let’s try doing this…
Well, I shouldn’t have done that.
Whatever. Just finish it and be done.
Oh hello. It actually turned out quite well.
This is fun!
I know for a fact that these stages are not unique to me. And they’re not restricted to the painting process either.
I’ve seen a quote by Marcus Romer, director/writer/filmmaker, where he listed the stages of the creative process:
This is awesome.
This is tricky.
This is horrible.
I am horrible.
This might be okay.
This is awesome.
So if you’re currently stuck in the ‘I am horrible’ stage, don’t lose heart! Keep going, and you’ll soon reach happier places.
Other bits and pieces
I just stumbled upon Taylor Swift’s new Bejewelled music video! Okay fine, you’ve probably already seen it. Guess I’m a ‘slowie’ eh? 🤓
Another video that inspired me: J.K. Rowling – A Year in the Life. I laughed, I cried, and I was so inspired.
Disney is making an Enchanted sequel – and it’s deliciously titled Disenchanted! 15 years later, with the same cast ❤️
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