Saturday, 4 August 2012

Writing from the inside out

This morning, I was thinking to myself: what would happen if I were to go somewhere, far far away, for one year, with no laptop/computer, no Internet, no communication with the outside world, no books to read (shocking, I know!); just a stash of pen & paper, basic maintenance like food etc, and my own company?

Quieting all the instant objections (what about your loved ones? Your work? Money?), I imagine I would have to make a new writing routine for myself. One that didn't involve research (Internet or otherwise), social networking, reading other people's work, or finding new writing excersizes to try out.

What would happen?

I suppose I'd probably get some actual writing done. Unspoiled writing; untainted, using only what's in my head and heart to fuel my words. That's how they did it in the olden days, didn't they? The works of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens weren't too shabby, were they?

But what would I write about?

Probably the same things I'm trying to write about right now; things I'm allowing outside factors to interfere with. I know what this is... I've so little confidence in my own words, I'm looking to others for direction and improvement. And, what's worse, I'm looking in places that make me feel even more inadequate! 

At this moment in time, I don't need inspiration. I don't need new ideas. I just need to work with what I've got, inside.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

I need to find out what my truest sentence is.

I have no inclination to abandon my current life for a life of complete solitude (as much as I jest about my desire to live a hermit lifestyle), I am, however, going to become a part-time hermit, mentally. I'm going to try "reclusive writer" on for size. 

Like RenĂ© Descartes, I'm going to discard all my prior beliefs, and just work with what remains in my heart. It might be shit, but it's my shit, goddammit!

Anyone who's read more than two of my posts might notice a pattern evolving here. One minute, I'm glorifying all the great writing resources available, the next I'm turning my back on them in defiance. Yes, I'm a bit mental. I hope to look back on this indecisiveness one day and say "ah... I'm so glad I've got my act together now." Fingers crossed.

There will come a time when I have to share my work with readers and critics, and when it does, I'll know every word of it was written earnestly, comprised 100% of true sentences.

Consider myself locked up in my writing room. Does anyone want to have the key? I may have to be forced into the room, every now and then!



Ravena Guron said...

I think you would get loads of writing done. That settles it. Let's all get lost in the amazon rainforest, and not come out until we are finished.

Kris said...

I'll do you a deal. I'll introduce you to one of my secret places to go write. We both go one night per week for 3 hours and write, write, write. We don't even need to talk to each other except to top up coffee, just have the pressure of the commitment to each other to turn up and actually do some work!! It's uncancellable unless under exceptional circumstances, and if we do we merely move the block to another 3 hour window and make up the time later. Treat it like a job—you're my employer, I'm yours—the work MUST be done!

Anne Mackle said...

Another brilliant post Catherine. Your posts are always funny and interesting. Stop being insecure about your writing. As I said before I think we can read too much about writing and about rules in writing a book and it scares us new writers. Just write and let your creativity flow,you can always go back and change things later. I agree about not having the computer or phone but maybe a year is a bit too long, some sort of writer's retreat would be good for a week end.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Catherine, what a thought! The first time I wanted to look something up and realized I had no internet I'd probably go crazy. And no keyboard, oh my.

I'm so hooked on my Mac and the Web. I'm hanging my head in shame, but then I'm off to find some ebook sales!

Anonymous said...

Hand me the key, I've always wanted to be the evil gatekeeper.

michelle said...

"Reclusive writer" sounds wonderful... it's a back-to-basics writing environment... and conducive to loads of productivity, I'm sure...
I'll volunteer for a set of spare keys... they may need to be used to lock you in OR unlock the door when you're cooped up inside for too long!

Anonymous said...

When you mentioned Hemingway you missed out on a follow-up pun, you could have written...I'll know every word of it was written ernestly, comprised 100% of true sentences. ;-)

I came across this blog a while back and have been commenting since the know who your writing for post I think it was. I could relate to a lot of it, as I put the finishing touches to my own Journalism degree. You'll know who I am, you've always been a good writer, just get it done!

Catherine Noble said...

@Ravena Guron: Sounds like a good plan to me! Just think of all the stories we'd come up with :)

@Kris: Deal! That sounds like exactly what I need to get over this writing slump. I'll email you :)

@Anne Mackle: Aww, thank you for your lovely words :) A writer retreat sounds terrific, doesn't it? Shame they're all so extortionate :(

@Joylene Nowelle Butler: It's a horrifying thought, isn't it? Haha! We're all so dependent on our technology these days, we'd be lost without it!

@Gene Pool Diva: *hands over key* Don't let me out till my WIP is done! :)

@michelle: I do love the idea of being a reclusive writer, I'm so glad I'm not the only one haha :) thanks for taking a set of keys, I'll get some writing done yet!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes retreating from everything is the only way to do it. Go get 'em!

JRuud said...

I love this. This is how I feel as well. I have tried to get "new material," but with what I already have, my baby, well I need to work with that. And luckily, I've hit a "flow." It's amazing truly.

Best of luck!

a.eye said...

I think the peace from not having the tech would be nice until I just wanted to search and chill for a second with mindless things. Sometimes, that is how I get ideas.

Maria said...

I can so identify with you today. But I have tried the 'lock in' and I can't hack it!Today I can't hack anything!

We ought to form a club, maybe turn up and write in hour stints every other day, or something...after six sessions they say it becomes a habit.

I have a friend who owns a very old word processor with no internet connection. He forces himself to use that every day for an hour. I can confirm he gets far more written than I do in three months!

What is wrong with us? ;-)

Catherine Noble said...

@Alex J. Cavanaugh: Thank you! It's doing me good, so far!

@JRuud: I'm so jealous of your "flow", I LOVE when that happens :) there's nothing like it. Good luck to you with your "baby" :)

@a.eye: I do enjoy a spot of mindless browsing myself. :)

@Maria: Aww you must have more energy than me, I'd happily be locked in for hours on end if I didn't feel so guilty/obligated elsewhere :D

I think there are a few clubs like that on Twitter, who write on the hour, or do fifteen minute sprints. I've never tried it; I'm feart I'd end up just gabbing away on Twitter instead :)

Excellent, your friend must be so productive! I have a cranky old desktop in my room that I try to use for writing (sometimes I'm lazy and use the laptop, though, which spells trouble). I made myself do a 20 minute freewrite on it last night before I went to bed. It was great hearing the old clackety keys! I should take a leaf out of your friend's book and force myself to use the old desktop more often! :)

Susan Francino said...

I know what you mean. Sometimes I get to a stage where I feel like I'm absorbing too much information and not putting enough original material out. There's definitely a need for balance. It's nice to meet you, by the way! Thanks for following The Feather and the Rose. :)

Morgan said...

How have we not connected before??? I can tell I'm going to love your blog. Already, you've got such a sense of honesty and clarity to your writing that speaks right to the soul. I love it. Sooooo my kind of thing! Don't disappear for too long, because I'll be anxious for your next post! ;)

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