Friday, May 18, 2018

How hard can that be?

Lately, a lot of advice for writers seems to center on spewing words at a higher speed, with the reasoning that the faster you write, the better you become at your craft. While I don't dispute the age-old truth that 'practice makes perfect' I would like to suggest the exact opposite to you. Every day, when I start writing the next passage of my upcoming novel, I set one mission before me. It's simple: write one good paragraph. 

One benefit of my method is that rarely, if ever, do I suffer from writer's block, because the target I set for myself is not daunting. It's just a paragraph. How hard can that be?

Well, let me tell you, it ain't easy! It takes a lot for me to be satisfied with a paragraph. Even though I know what I want to deliver, forming words around it in a crisp manner--a manner that sweeps the reader into the story and inside the skin of the character--is far from being a breeze. How do I know that I've achieved my mission? I know it when there's a click in my mind. Yes, I actually hear a click when the paragraph is just what I want it to be.

Once I hear the click, the creative juices take over and I continue writing at high speed, usually at the rate of two or three pages a day, and cycle through the new paragraphs until I hear the music of all these clicks. Or not. But the speed is a result of my method--not the sole target of it.

The method is a bit similar to how I approach watercolor painting. My mission is to create beautiful puddles, without messing them up by overworking the piece. 

Here is my recent watercolor painting (inspired by a bone.) The idea for it came to me because of a suggestion of my art teacher, Chris Hero, to concentrate on the edges of the paper rather than on its center. So, the center of the painting is the white space that connects the creature to its prey.

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