Sunday, February 25, 2007


I just finished reading another good novel by Gail Godwin today entitled "Queen of the Underworld." I liked the title which is why I bought the book, but I've read others by Godwin and I like her writing; her characters, attention to detail and ability to spin a story. Actually, this is the fourth book I've read by her and I liked the other three better. Whenever I read a book I feel like I enter the story so completely that at times I feel trapped in two different realities; the one I live and the reality of the life of the story - often the life of the main character of the book. In this case, the main character is a writer with a vivid imagination! As I read this book, and many others in the past, I am always struck by the question "what does it take to write like this?" Certainly it is part imagination, intuition, free floating associations, but there is also some work to it which includes history, research, geography to name a few. My issue doesn't seem to be lack of ideas alive in my imagination, I have plenty of them. My problem is that even though I can "think" a story, I have a hard time writing the story. I imagine I've created hundreds of book titles over the years, and ideas of what the story would be about, but I haven't put them on paper and so they are like asteroids traveling in outer space; they fly by and burn themselves out as they travel along. I truly wonder what is the secret of being a writer? In the novel I just read the main character talks about freezing up and her thoughts not flowing. That's what happens to me when I sit down to write - no matter how fluent I am in my mind and how detailed and interesting the story - I simply lose the ability to allow the story to flow from my mind onto paper. I suspect part of my problem is how I have learned to write for education and preaching - I am constantly editing in my head so I have dulled my ability to just allow things to flow when I sit down and attempt to write out my thoughts. My "internal editor" is so active it contributes to my freezing up. So, this simple task of blogging is an attempt to sit down every day and write something - no matter how trivial or uninteresting. It reminds me of writing "morning pages" with a difference - I know I am allowing others to read what I'm writing, and I'm consciously writing on some topic rather than free flowing. I'm trying to develop the ability to allow my mind to flow with a story. And I'm trying to listen less to the internal critic. So far I'm meeting with limited success, but I hope as time goes on that I will just sit down and write what comes forth rather than having to "think" about something to write and then "try" to make it sound interesting.

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