Friday, October 9, 2009

The Perfect Pair of Slippers

I'm fascinated by the processes other writers use to produce pages. Not so much the planning or research phase, but the arse-in-chair, blinking cursor phase. Creativity is like a fingerprint-no two persons are alike-but I'd be willing to bet other writers have rituals they talk themselves through when it's time.

Ten years ago, when I began writing in earnest, I modeled other writers' processes. Some begin the writing day reading literature they adore, akin to getting their toes wet in a sacred literary pool. I tried it and found my writing took on the cadence of what I'd read, it had been too fresh, too familiar. Some writers journal-slop pages to get the hand and brain juiced then erase and begin on their project. Mostly, I found my slop filled with self-deprecation. Not the best launch to a writing day. I've tried re-reading the previous day's work, re-reading much more than that, deep visualization/meditation, shoving the cats out the door, checking my emails, nursing that sacred first cup of my favorite beverage in the morning (different, depending on the season), lighting a candle, playing music; and sometimes, when the writing still didn't come, I'd hug my knees and rock back and forth in the corner spouting in tongues.

Okay, that never happened. Almost never. Seriously, it took years to groom myself to a ritual that works. And it didn't follow any paved path of well-intended writers who had offered me advice along the way. It came from me like a gift I'd possessed all along but didn't know how to unwrap it.

Starting Monday, I unwrap that gift again. It's been awhile, this creating new text, as I've been saturated with revisions of two manuscripts for the better part of this year. I have no doubt I'll find those well-worn comfortable slippers of creation inside the box. I would share the magic if I could, but we all know my slippers wouldn't fit you-especially the breezy hole near the big toe where unexpected ideas slip through.

For these two Fast Draft weeks, you'll find my posts simple, daily and accountable. I hope you'll stop by occasionally to say hello and toss me some chocolate for sustenance if I slip into tongues. I also hope you'll forgive me for not visiting elsewhere, but I look forward to catching up with everyone on the back end.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tell us about the best pair of slippers you've ever received.


Todd Wheeler said...

Good luck with the writing! Do you have a reward planned for yourself at the end of each day? End of the manuscript?

Robin said...

Best of luck! I'm planning to put on my slippers on Monday as well. Thinking maybe, just maybe, I can do NanoWriMo. Depends on how the creative mojo goes these next couple of weeks. I'll definitely pop in to root you on!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Charles Gramlich said...

I think what you have to do is establish a routine. Writing will not come consistently easy until that routine is established.

Pamela Cayne said...

Wonderful! And yes, I've been through the "What works for me?" phases too many times to count. I have the equivilent of my slippers and they're about to be put on (after I do some polishing for GH entries!) and I can't wait to dive in the deep end, feel the shock of the water, and start swimming. Good luck! I'll stock up on lots of virtual chocolate for you!

Jen FitzGerald said...

I so miss my bunny slippers. I used get pairs similar to those pictured every year for Christmas until they stopped showing up in stores.

Best of luck with the writing--


Marilyn Brant said...

Good luck with your fast drafting, L.A.!! (I have some low-cut Ugg boots that I used as slippers as a teen--loved them. ;)

laughingwolf said...

g'luck on the new writing, lam

i wore out my black moccasins a while ago, found no replacements at a decent price so got a pair of clogs, brown leather on hard black rubber... easy as slippers to slide on/off, to take the pup out in... til the snow flies

what i do is panic... try visual prompts... or just hack away til something decent begins to form, then run with it...

the walking man said...

Get to it Laura and we'll see you at the other side. Gahhh the old lady just made me (finally in her mind) start wearing slippers.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@Todd-thank you :) You know, I usually do. Mostly it's tied to favorite shows I've DVR-ed and deprived myself of during those two weeks.

@Robin-You, too! I wish you all the creative ju-ju vibes I can spare.

@Pam-I'm afraid it'll feel a little cold to me too.'s been too long. Good luck polishing those GH entries ;)

@Jen-I'll never outgrow character slippers. Right now, I have penguins with earmuffs :) And they have a hole near the big toe. Imagine that.

@Marilyn-I've heard of those but I'm scared to do a google image search. They sound horribly embarrassing.

@laughingwolf-I think that's what it really comes down to-hacking away at it until something decent forms. Is the snow flying up there yet?

@walkingman-I'm glad you have someone there to look after you. It's sweet and you need looking after ;)

laughingwolf said...

no snow in my area as yet, lam... but has been in a few areas north of me... soon though, methinks