Thursday, July 30, 2009

Writing with Ecstatic Abandonment

“The secret to excellent writing is to enjoy with ecstatic abandonment each letter and syllable we put down on paper.” -- Michael Levy in “The Excellent Writer Within.” [as posted on Mike’s Writing Workshop and Newsletter]
I remember writing documents for work -- when I was working -- that took forever. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the topic, or that I lacked ideas about what to include. I was writing something in which I had little interest. In some cases, I knew from the start the document was a waste of time, despite what my boss said. The higher-ups weren’t going to accept the proposal no matter how well written it was. The money to fund the project didn’t exist. Knowing this made the process a chore. I experienced little joy or ecstatic abandonment in completing the project.

I realize now the stories I find the easiest to write are the ones I’m most excited about, the ones in which I have something important (to me, anyway) to say. I need to keep this in mind the next time I’m stuck on a story. The problem may be that I don’t care enough about what happens to the characters, or it could be I’m bored with the tale and need to set it aside for a few weeks, or however long it takes to recapture the excitement I felt when I first envisioned the tale.

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