Tuesday, September 11, 2012

About getting stuck...



Yesterday I was stuck with my writing, so I turned on an old re-run of The Waltons and watched an episode called The Easter Story. In this particular episode, the mother of seven children contracts polio and decides she's going to walk again, no matter what. But, the more she tries, the worse she feels until she finally gives up in defeat, saying "It's time to get busy living with the way things are, and not the way I wish things could be." (not an exact quote) Anyway, that night she has a dream that her youngest child is calling to her, so she gets up and starts walking to her. The family is elated that after she relaxed, she was able to walk again and all was okay.

I thought about that and how I've been trying so hard to write a story I've been working on. Maybe if I just relaxed and let the story flow, it would be more natural and forthcoming. So, last night I accepted that the story was not happening the way I wanted and decided to let it go. I woke up this morning with new ideas that seem fresh and vivid. All I had to do was relax and let things happen the way they are, and not try to push things into a mold.

So much of life is like that. We get an idea of the ways things ought to be, and forget to look at how things are. Reality gets pushed out of perspective and is distorted. It becomes unusable and forced. I'm going to try to embrace the way things are and let my stories create themselves. That way, what actually comes from me will be a whole lot more real than any sci-fi/fantasy I could dream up. Oh, I'm still going to write fantasy, it'll just be more like what's going on inside my head as I let it come out in its own time.

My sister, Loretta Stephenson, at Art By Retta, sent me this quote today:

“Perhaps, it is just as well to be rash and foolish for a while. If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself 'Why?' afterward than before. Anyway, the force from somewhere in Space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told, and write what is commanded. There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.”

– Zora Neale Hurston from Dust Tracks on A Road

13 comments:

  1. What great advice. I actually remember that episode of The Waltons.
    When my kids were little we used to do that saying goodnight thing.

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    1. Susan: With a large family it would be morning before you got through saying goodnight!

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  2. Sometimes, you just have to let it flow the way it wants.

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    1. Alex: That's what I'm learning. I took the day off yesterday to free up my mind and I've started my story now. It's not the way I expected it to be, but it's going to write itself this time.

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  3. "All I had to do was relax and let things happen the way they are, and not try to push things into a mold."

    I love that! It goes right along with some research I read recently, that suggests that when we are stressed, it actually interferes with our brain function and cuts off the creative flow. :-O
    So your approach is perfect. :-)

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    1. Rettakat: Wow! We must be on the same wave length.

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  4. I have a little something for you on my blog.

    http://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/2012/09/tag-youre-it.html

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  5. Hi, Karen. Good advice. I've always been a fan of The Waltons.

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  6. There's much to be said for letting the story breathe and speak on its own.

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  7. Wonderful quotes, and great advice. I think letting it go is also just clearing your head. You start to worry and you mind becomes clouded. Free writing whatever is on your mind or meditating can also help clear the junk from your mind and let you start on your project fresh :)

    Thanks for sharing inspiration.

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  8. Susanne: It's amazing where you can find good advice!

    M Pax: I like how you say "letting the story breathe". It's like giving it a life of its own.

    Charmaine: You are right. I have to shake out the sand every once in a while and allow the air to blast out the dust. Then I can think clearly.

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