This is a companion piece to a piece I wrote about treating the artistic process like an industrial/mechanical one over on Jesse Abundis’ ARTISTS UNCENSORED blog. That post was inspired by a request for inspiration, and its response, below:
@girl_onthego Maybe “in the zone” versus “not in the zone, gotta write anyhow”.
— NYPinTA (@NYPinTA) February 16, 2013
But it doesn’t always come easy, and sometimes it just doesn’t come. Sometimes – often those times – there are external conditions necessitating a piece be written. It’s for a magazine or a website, or a class paper. You want to make sure you have a relevant piece of writing on your site when visitors from another blog come calling.
In this hypothetical, we’ll say the situation is this: an article you wrote on another site is being published, and you want to talk about how writing something on demand is a skill writers need to develop.
That’s when you rely on your craft, your writer’s toolkit. That’s when you force yourself to be disciplined and focused.
Jot down ideas.
Make an outline. (God I hate making outlines.)
Take a break. Come back, look at what you’ve written. Evaluate it. Re-arrange your ideas.
Then trust yourself and start writing.
You may delete every word for an hour. You may feel self-conscious about every point your argument strikes. You will, I guarantee, have to go back and read the thing multiple times, probably print it out, possibly even read it aloud – and add and delete sections that you missed or rambled on in the first time around.
In the end, you’ll have written something. Your best work ever? Maybe not. Something that communicates your point? Hopefully.
The process is more complicated in a creative endeavor – more the territory of writing exercises and accessing your subconscious than just working with craft, because a writer’s emotional connection to their work is so clearly reflected in it.
Capturing that lightning in a bottle is a blog entry for another day.