Whether it’s through paint, dance, written word, digital media or any other method of creating, we are all storytellers, attempting to craft a narrative that communicates a something to our audience. For myself, this has always been a given, an obvious “duh” that didn’t register when experiencing that special hybrid of partial writer’s block and frustration. This is often the inevitable slow down following the excitement of starting a new project. The story and my creative intentions have grown muddy, and I am left with a side by side comparison of what I want to create, and how things are unfolding. This can take on many forms, but usually gives off a sense of not quite right. The story is there, the syntax is there, but the mood or the characters are off. And while there is something to letting creativity run where it wants, sometimes this is just a genuine sign that the something you want to give is missing; your first, second or 50th draft is finished, and it’s time to start a new one.
A few weeks back I posed myself a challenge: on a trip into Algonquin Park, I would spend my morning writing ritual doing so longhand and compare it to my usual experience writing by keyboard. It was an experiment in response to an (on-going) conversation James and I have about the skill, and it was quite eye-opening—just not in any of the ways I planned. Continue reading “Reflection | PLAY 001: Longhand Jam in the Woods”
Luke and I have been talking a lot about process lately, both here at Adventures in Storytelling and in our conversations with each other. Although the going is slow, both Adventures in Storytelling and Charlotte’s Journey are chugging along happily, so much of our conversation has dealt with maintaining our creative pace. The best strategy seems to be establishing and sticking to a routine. Once again, Luke and I have discovered something that is already well known! We’re accepting awards for redundancy. Continue reading “Facing the Challenge of a Disrupted Schedule”
I had a conversation with James last night (well, by the time you’re reading this, it will have been many days ago, but let’s just agree that “recently” James and I spoke) about writing by hand.
James has already written on this topic on Adventures in Storytelling in his article, No, You’re Analog! A Writer’s Strategy. If you haven’t read it yet, you should—there’s some great stuff in there—but as part of it he looks at the reasons why, as a writer, he prefers writing first drafts by hand.
In the comments, I added my own thoughts on why I don’t write by hand (despite loving the sensation of analogue). My main argument is that my hand can’t keep up with my thoughts when I write longhand. I need the “speed” of a keyboard to keep my thoughts flowing freely (and clearly). James rebutted with a question, “If we were to time the difference in speed between longhand and keyboarding, would we actually find a difference?” He’s confident the answer would be negligible. Continue reading “PLAY 001: Longhand Jam in the Woods”
“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” — William Faulkner
I haven’t finished a story in… years. Articles, sure. But a full-fledged short story—not since before the end of my undergrad. Even my final creative writing project was handed in as a less than final draft. I would sit down with the beginning of the story and a picture of several neat scenes in my head. I’d muddle through from the start, hoping I’d stumble my way into a setup that would allow those scenes to happen. In other words, I’d have a clear image of scene-Q, I’d formulate a quick, barebones outline to get started, write the first line… And lose my way on scene-D, long before I got anywhere near Q. I could see the parts, but when it came to writing the prose, I struggled to get myself to the finish.
In short: my writing process was not working for me. Continue reading “Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process”