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  • September 27th, 2005 | 6:40 AM
Where do the words live?

And what makes the right word or phrase come when you need it the most? Sometimes I just have to stop and give thanks, overwhelmed by the magic that is the creative process.

I should say first off that I am in intuitive writer. I can't outline (in college I wrote all my outlines for papers AFTER I wrote the paper.) Pre-plotting in any standard fashion isn't something that works for me. Deconstructing scenes for what is wrong or looking through a book and identifying the many layers and what they all mean/symbolize/or are supposed to accomplish makes me feel like I am in a foreign country driving on the wrong side of the road - I'm moving forward but I'm never quite comfortable that I know where I'm going or that I will get there in one piece.

That means I rely an awful lot on instinct in my writing and instinct, like the muse, can be a temperamental friend. Which makes last night all the most special to me. It was one of those perfect writing times when all the planets line up just so and the words come out of their hiding places, creeping, crawling, marching down my arm and onto the page, rearranging themselves into a poem I didn't even know was missing from the book until I saw the finished lines on the page. And when I read the words, dinking with them here and there, playing around to find the perfect metaphor (and where do THOSE hide by the way?) when I read what is now the second poem in the book, I knew that it was exactly the right poem in exactly the right place and that if I looked closer, even I would be able to see how it set the stage for the crash that is just around the corner. Even I could see that it would lull the reader into thinking that things weren't really bad as they were when they were really so much worse than they could imagine. Even I knew it was just what the book needed. Which certainly made cutting 8 other poems much easier.

I guess sometimes we just have to learn to trust not just ourselves or the process but the story. The answers are always in the story, if you look close enough.

(Tags: , )
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 6 comments — Leave comment )
September 27th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
Wow, Susan -- inspiring stuff.
September 27th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
"The answers are always in the story, if you look close enough."

This is so true! The other day janni quoted this in her journal:

"In order to create my best work, I've discovered that I must be willing to make myself vulnerable, to start from a place of not knowing. If I'm driven by the need to impress others, I can't afford to be undefended. But if it's the work itself that's guilding me, I can open myself to continual discovery. Instead of asking, "Is this good?" I can ask, "What does my work need? Where is it taking me? What is the piece trying to say or be, and what's the next step to further that? Worries about recognition are replaced with an ongoing commitment to discerning the nature of the work I am pursuing, and to be in service to it."

-- Illustrator Anne Sibley O'Brien, writing in this month's SCBWI Bulletin

I feel the same way about writing, especiall this part - But if it's the work itself that's guilding me, I can open myself to continual discovery. So true. So true. :)
(Deleted comment)
September 27th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
After Outliner
I am one, too. Maybe we can form a support group. I would even consider myself an after plotter, even on revision. I write from intuition and not from an outline, though I wish I could do it the other way. It makes me feel better to hear about your process. Your perfect writing evening sounds wonderful. Here's to many more this week...
September 28th, 2005 04:21 am (UTC)
I write from inspiration and intuition
No outline for me. . .just the wind lol
September 28th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
You know, Susan... you are wise.

I love learning from your insightful entries.
( 6 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
--Nancy Slonim Aronie

"Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is."
--Anne Rice


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