|Photo: Michal Grosicki via Unsplash|
This type of discipline works for assignments as well. It helps that these pieces are typically on topics of my choosing and that I've thought about how I want to write them and what information I want to include before I've even proposed them. Grunt work done, all that remains is the crafting of the piece itself and, once again, showing up is most of the battle. Some days it flows, other days it stalls and sometimes I wonder why I thought this topic was a good idea -- just as in any other form of creative expression -- but most of the time, simply by showing up, I make progress.
But fiction is different. Infused by life, whether schedules or events, it's a tad more temperamental. Showing up is only about half the battle. When time is tight or I'm distracted, I might sit in my chair like I'm supposed to, but there's no guarantee that my characters will show up. Story lines and dialogue are more difficult to access, and may become bland; I might even find myself staring at a blank screen for an uncomfortably long period of time. Both directly and indirectly, creative writing is more subject to life's whims than blogs or articles.
While this is often an obstacle, it can also be a blessing. When I allow my own experiences to color what my characters are going through, my writing becomes richer. Even if my characters aren't me and their life isn't my life, the difference between writing "she was relieved" and describing that relief in terms that will make readers step into a character's emotional world is living that relief -- or any other emotion -- in the first place.
|RayMark via Pixabay|
And to do that, I have to have a life. A complex, full, unpredictable life.