The bluesman Townes Van Zandt told us what matters: “Bukka White used to call them sky songs, ’cause he’d reach up and pull ’em out of the sky. It seems to me they (songs) just kind of come through me almost. Just all of a sudden k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k! (That’s a sound approximating lightning.). Write this down. K-k-k-k-k-k-k-k. There’s another line. K-k-k-k-k-k-k-k. It kind of goes from to the top of my head out my right arm.”
If you’ve been reading Breakthrough Writing for a while, you know what to do. If you are new to this website, set a timer for 30 minutes. Imagine you are a lightning rod and start the timer. Let the k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k come through you. Write without stopping. If you need a prompt, try this: I’m willing. And, please send us what emerges.
From Lynette Sheppard: What is my way to write?
For years, I wrote in my head without ever putting much down on paper. Later I wrote policies and procedures for the workplace. I wrote articles for magazines in my chosen profession. What I think of as my “real” writing came much later.
I have always loved words. I forever watched the world, hearing a verbal soundtrack to experiences. Though I am not a synesthete, I do imagine words with taste and texture, adornments and embellishments for all that I sense. Words were once a haven for a frightened child; now they are a healing and joyful presence.
My process included discipline when I wrote nonfiction. I literally “went to work” from 10 am until 2 pm each day. A neighbor offered her unfurnished yurt as a writing space. My process was to write for those four hours with two 15 minute coffee/snack breaks. I forced myself to stop at 2 pm no matter how well or how poorly the writing was going; an exercise in trust.
Now that I have begun the foray into fiction, I need helpmates. Breakthrough Writing is one such helper. My writing group, the Red Dirt Writers, is another. They keep me honest and they keep me working. I will let myself down constantly but I will not let my friends down. At times, the ONLY motivations that get me to the page are my helpmates. I thank the gods and goddesses for them every day.
What is my way not to write?
I find distractions and chores aplenty to keep me from writing. While some tasks are actually necessary like paying the electric bill, most can wait. I procrastinate by doing the laundry, cleaning closets, going for walks…. The list of self-imposed roadblocks is endless.
I read constantly. I tell myself two stories about reading as a substitute for writing. “I need to learn more and can only accomplish this by reading more,” and “I will never write anything as good as _____insert name of author or book here_____ so why try so hard?”
Should I manage to avoid these roadblocks and actually write, I will skitter around the work I am actually excited/afraid about and write something safe or new. This is the most difficult avoidance to face, but I’m working on it. Maybe I should just read what I’ve written here every day to remind myself that the only obstacle in my way is me.
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