Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rewriting Pros and Cons

One Shot

Two Shot

Three Shot

So what are three cell phone photos of the same bouquet of flowers doing on a post about rewriting? Can you tell which one was taken first, second, last? (Hint, they're not in order.)

This post came about when several people on a listserve from the Donald Maass workshops mentioned about their fears/concerns about rewriting after attending a workshop. The main fear? "I thought I was the only one completely rewriting my w.i.p.!"

Why this fear? Why not be afraid that you'll never finish? And if you do it'll never be published? Aren't these bigger fears? Look to the photos for my answer. Which one was taken first? The best of the bunch, the three shot that's in focus and has the interest of the unusual salt-and-pepper shakers in the shot.

Therein lies the big rub--what if the first version is the best of the bunch? Has the most energy? That can happen--and as I said in previous posts, endless re-writing can destroy a w.i.p. How to know? How much is too much? How little is too little?

Perhaps a better question would be: should I only have taken the one photo? No. I had no way of knowing which photo would be the best of the bunch. Sometimes I even prefer the out-of-focus photos. You never know what you're going to get and what will succeed until you try several things.

Taking this idea over to drafts, do more than one and keep all of them. Go back when you have a tiny semblance of objectivity and see which one is better. Trust that your writing will improve with more writing. Trust the inner voice that says, "Enough."

Does this resonate with you? Do you limit your drafts or go by instinct to know when you're "done"? How about if you've attended a workshop, do you doubt or feel more confident?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Wishes

August Sunflowers

A happy, fun and safe Labor Day Weekend to all my friends out there. And to those from all over the world who don't have Monday off--the same wishes for the weekend!

And a question for you creative types: do you work or not work, regardless of the day? Do you give yourselves a break? Or is your creative endeavor a break in itself?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stretch breaks for creative types

An August Sky

Summer is almost over. And that means a lot of things. Going back to school. Christmas is coming. Yes, it is hard to believe when it's 100 degrees outside, but Christmas for me means new students and new exercise classes. Which I've been working on new exercises for.

What does this have to do with creative types? The simple answer is sound body, sound mind. Perhaps a little too simple. But still true. So, given that creative types struggle with both and often stay in one position for far too long (especially writers) what to do?

Take a quick stretch break. Easy. Simple. Effective. Gets the blood and therefore creativity moving. Every hour at least, or more often if you need to re-focus, stretch.

Here's a few easy stretches:

Shrug: raise and lower your shoulders. Three to five times should help.
If that's not enough, then roll your shoulders, or circle them, both ways.
If you're sitting, stick both legs out straight, point your toes and then flex them back for up to 10 times, then circle each foot, both directions.
This one's good for avoiding carpel tunnel: circle your hands, "roll them on your wrists" both directions.

These are just a few quick movements you can do, any time, any place. Try it when the right word won't come to mind, when you don't know what little thing needs to be done on your project, or when the creative fatigue threatens.

For more exercises, visit my webpage

What do you do when you need a break? Do you take a break when you need one? Or get so focused that you push through--and what happens if you do that?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Other Perspectives Pro and Con

This is my s.o. Bruce, with a different perspective.

This subject seems to be in the blogging air. And it occurred to me while my niece, Katey, was visiting. Now Katey is a intelligent, engaged with life and engaging, passionate young woman of 22. And as such, she has her own unique perspectives, different from my own, on many things.

Then Beth of Beth's Adventures mentioned in her post about a piece of artwork painted on the wall of her new home. Very personal to the people living there before--and no doubt delightful to them. And Kathy of Well Placed Words in her post about Ambidextrous Writers discussed switching genres. When a writer does that, another perspective is created.

What are the pros and cons of different perspectives?

The pros are strong and an excellent reminder to keep the mind open. How many times have you've been brought to an epiphany by a different perspective: "Whoa, I never thought of it that way before?" Or "hey, that would work." Often, new vistas, new ideas, new paths open up with a different perspective: "Wow, I never saw it that way--that'd work."

The cons: well, a different perspective can be too personal. See Beth's Adventures above. It can be confusing and even dangerous to get too many or too diverse of different perspectives. For an example: a writer friend of mine always listens to other's opinions of her work. But open-minded willingness can go too far--as a consequence she never finishes anything, continually re-writing the same w.i.p.

So, what are some new perspectives you've noticed lately? And where have they led?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Glorious Distractions

Some delightful birthday flowers from my great friend Kathy of Well Placed Words.

Ah, glorious distractions of the summer! Glorious because they are so much fun. Some of mine include: birthday parties (many friends and relatives and myself), a niece's graduation, a different niece's visit, a convention, Fandemonium, where I taught a workshop on storyboarding, a film conference, my first, an upcoming workshop on writing manga and new fitness classes for mid-lifers to teach (my other day job, check out Delightfit for more).

Whew! All fun events/activities that I wanted to do and enjoyed doing. However, all distractions from the w.i.p. Distractions that sometimes assisted my current work, more about that in the next post--but also created a struggle to "stay in the work."

No time. No energy. The one thing I found helped, a bit, was to make certain I worked for 10-15 minutes a day, every day on my w.i.p. Not necessarily turning out pages, notes (even on scraps of paper if I was away from my laptop) worked as well.

Still difficult. So, dear readers, what do you do when awash with glorious distractions? How do you avoid getting possibly remote from a current and now uncurrent work? And what have your glorious distractions been this summer?

Monday, August 4, 2008

A test

I've been losing posts and comments on this blog (i.e. not being posted and disappearing) so this is a test.

With a pretty picture.