Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Writing Life - conventions and unusual approaches

the laburnum arbour at the Historic Gardens

I remember when I was trying to learn to ride a bike. I was old - maybe nine or ten and everyone else was speeding around on their two wheelers and I was a clumsy oaf. I just couldn't get it. Then my dad got me the strangest two wheeler - others looked at it and laughed. The seat was high and everything about it looked awkward and weird but guess what? I could ride that bike. It fit me to a tee. I wish I could find it today I might try again.
When I was about 12 and lived with my family in Colorado Springs we went on a road trip to San Jose to visit my Aunt Winn. While there we visited Chinatown in San Francisco where I bought a very nice pair of chopsticks - black enamel with inlay mother of pearl. An ancient Chinese man showed me how to use them. And I still use them the way he showed me though everyone laughs when they see me. And dear readers, I spent three months at Buddhist camp where we ate every meal with chopsticks so a lot of folks saw me! Apparently no one but me and possibly that old man uses them this particular way. I have tried to use the conventional method but I might as well try and juggle live cats - I simply can't.

Today I have a wee bit of time to work on a WIP. I did a thousand on Earth Bound - the newest Kitty Mac mystery so will continue on that. I want to outline but I keep not doing it. Hmmmm...maybe I should be happy with how I do things. Are the rest of you humans (I was going to say writers but!) driven mad by second guessing your own methods? Methods that may fly in the face of convention but yet seem to work for you?


Elspeth Antonelli said...

I say if it ain't broke don't fix it. Whatever works, Jan. Take hints from other writers, of course, but only you know what works for you. If you're putting words on a page you're on your way.


Stacy Post said...

I love the chopstick story! IMHO, every writer has their own flow. It's easy to second-guess your process, but don't let it hinder your journey. A thousand words is phenomenal today. (I only wrote 300.) Who knows? Maybe your chopstick method is the best way ever? Cheers!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Our fingerprints should remind us of our individuality. You should take a picture of yourself holding the chopsticks so we can see how you hold them!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sometimes I think that I write in the weirdest way ever--in bits and pieces. It's not proper! So I try to change my method and I get completely fouled up.

Great post, Jan! And a good reminder to be true to ourselves.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks you all! I have really leaped in and all hesitation is gone. I finished another thousand today on top of what I promised so feel that energy to keep going and going. I leave it in an exciting part so I'll dream about it tonight.
And for the chop stick curious I hold one chop stick on either side of my middle finger which guides one and my thumb the other. Confused - a picture would be worse! I need a film. However, I can pick up a grain of rice so...