Robert, don’t quit the forums (fori? forae?) and certainly don’t let anything I’ve said, or Kevin for that matter, be a big deal to you. Our writerly egos and fears are involved, and therefore, we’ve got to say to ourselves “If it doesn’t speak to me, let it be.”
Writing about individual process always stirs people up. And makes for a lively discussion which is always to the good. The process is something we all want to understand. We strive to learn tricks, pray for shortcuts, hope and wish Jessica Lange or Andre Ethier will show up and be our muse. Anything that might our task easier. At least I do.
When something worksand someone else shares his secrets, we often want to put our hands over our ears and sing “la-la-la-la!” We don’t want to know that what’s working for us isn’t right.
The irony is that it’s all right. There is NO WRONG WAY, no wrong philosophy.
We choose our direction at each sign post and hope that it’s going to lead us where we want to go. Sometimes something learned works forever. Sometimes we hit a deep box canyon with no path to the top. Yet it’s hard to turn around and retrace our steps.
If one writer cares about other writers, and about the art and craft of writing, she sharea the reasons for her chosen path. Why?
If I’ve figured out something that works, just a tiny part of the process of writing (I don’t pretend to more because I don’t know a millionth of what there is to learn and know), I don’t want someone I know to struggle to find that same answer if I can give her some information, a hint, a trick, a 3 minute muse.
I’ve been writing a long time, and only now am able to write 1000 words that someone just might say they enjoyed. Maybe I should’ve given up. Maybe I wasn’t always listening. But I didn’t quit because whenever I got really stuck, the universe dropped a book in my lap (Jerry Cleaver, Natalie Goldberg, Stephen King), delivered a Writers Digest, alerted me to a workshop, or blessed me with an astute and honest reader.
So now I’m always listening, but I’m also filtering. Using what I tantalizes me and/or what I can believe in, and ignoring the rest.