Letting Creativity Rule
Blood tests are not that scary. Not at all, even for a shallow veined person like me. The scary part is when the results show up. Borderline this, borderline that, red exclamation point, highlighting that guess what, the buffet is closed. That dinner plate must abide by some rules. Low salt, low cholesterol, low carbs, count those total sugars, divide fat grams by serving size grams, math on the fly, say it ain’t so!
Really, what does that leave for menu options? A whole lot of what they used to call “ruffage”. Now that sounds appetizing.
If I was nomadic, traipsing through the woodlands and fields, eating what I dig up, picking berries and nuts, spearing dinner from the river, and sleeping in a hammock at night, then maybe, yes maybe, I would be in perfect blood balance per current guidelines and recommendations. It’s a dream.
But, I’m really not trying to share my epiphany that denial only works well when you’re young. So here’s the correlation to writing my friend.
When learning the craft of fiction there are an amazing amount of resources. There’s books, webinars, conferences, clubs and associations, all of which pour all kinds of instruction into your creative mind. After awhile there’s a theme to it all, ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do this’ in one form or another. When I first received instruction all I heard was ‘show don’t tell’. It was a maddening phrase for a novice. I wrote and rewrote, scrapped and started fresh over and over. So began the influence of instruction on my pure, raw storytelling.
The other day I found some manuscripts I penned in high school. I was blown away that my uneducated self wrote stories that followed the rules that I am still trying to tap into first draft today. How did I ‘show’ and not ‘tell’? Who taught me to create a scene, intro a character inciting event, unfold the story bit by bit instead of info dumping? It begs the question if I have not regressed with all the instruction.
Ahh, no, that’s not right but what I’ve done is hung up on trying to emulate and implement the mechanics of the trade until maybe I’ve lost tapping into the pure soul of the story I want to tell.
What is my point here? As sure as it is wise to respect the dwelling of your spirit with a healthy diet, it is wise to be taught, to learn the writing craft. However the point of a healthy body is to allow a full life and the point of instruction is to provide the scaffold to freely write. It’s there to keep things from falling apart but ultimately it’s more important to dive into your creativity, submerge in it, so that what pours out, flows naturally from inside you. Then stand back and be amazed that what bubbled up onto paper is a story well told.