Archive | April, 2012

From Where Do Ideas Come?

24 Apr

Have you ever watched yourself at the moment of a new idea’s emergence? Or reviewed what thought led to the next until the Thing stepped out into open consciousness? I think we all have, perhaps writers more than others because we want to know what the mechanics are that bring these things into their version of existence.

Mine usually begin with a single snapshot-like vision, a scene if you will. Writing about what I “see” and expanding on the picture, I begin to explain, more to myself than anyone, what is in the picture. A man? Woman? What is the setting, the time and place as well as the surroundings. Why are they there? What are they thinking?

Beyond that stretches into the more established questions an author must ask. What does this person want? Why? How badly and what sacrifices might they go through to achieve this object of desire? Is it desire or need?

So from a simple picture, a dreamlike view, the seed of a story begins. Many are abandoned; some after a page or so, some after many longs passages have been written. Few are as compelling as it first seemed. But that’s the nature of this exploration, isn’t it?

I’ve heard many writers answer the question in many ways at book fairs, writing classes, and critique groups. I can’t help likening ideas to the organic, the germinated seed, the roots seeking nutrition, the leaves seeking sun. It feels that way to me.


The Odyssey Workshop Culture is Alive and Growing

20 Apr

Wow! ( yes, Heather, I’m allowing myself an exclam)

Just a few days have passed since I posted my excitement about being accepted to the Odyssey Workshop and now I’m building new friendships with my future classmates. Thank you Brent and Samantha for starting the ball rolling. We’ll get to meet in person in just 49 days and start our odyssey with Jeanne at the helm.

Seriously, I feel like a freshman on my way to my first college experience. And thehandshakes across the country reinforce the idea that we are part of something much bigger. For every one of us there are alums from years past and I, for one,don’t want to let them down. Odyssey Workshop, Class of 2012, we salute you (and may the odds ever be in your favor).

More on (Moron) Journaling

18 Apr

Here are a few more thoughts on Daily Journaling. I love it when I come to the end of one of these books. I try to choose journals that have 200 blank pages so I can adequately judge my accomplishment in terms of speed and consistentcy. On average it takes me four to six months to go through one so I usually will carry the same book for half a year at a time. If I am troubled and demotivated, it can take as long as eight months.

Here are a few other random thoughts and “best practices”:

1. I love to tape thing into journals to make them a little more multimedia. Movie ticket stubs or any kind of ticket, airline etc. remind me of things that were happening when I was doing the journal page.

2. My rule for myself isif I do “real writing”, prose, poetry, or anything, I don’t require myself to also write journal pages in the same session. It’s a kind of bonus or incentive to encourage more creative writing.

3. Yes much of it is whining, complaining, lamenting, and other emotionally immature stuff but that is the beauty of Journaling. You are writing for yourself and you should never bethinking, “when my kids read this” or “when my fans, wife, husband, etc. read this”. No. Most emphatically no. This is the place you go to sort things out, to take hard look at yourself. This is not for the public or loved ones. This is a place for brutal honesty. I often stop in the middle of writing something fake and write, “hey Vern, who are you talking to? You’d better be talking to me. And I already know your secrets AND your deceit.” wow, okay that should make you re-boot!

4. Of course, the flip side is true as well. If you need it, you can take time to give yourself some TLC. Talk about your goals, fantasize/visualize what lifewill be like when you achieve. I love to visualize success and, you may have heard, it’s a component in most successful undertakings. The Great Gretsky said it best, “as I shoot, I am visualizing the puck going into the goal.” that’s an approximate quote but you get the concept.

Just remember: no limitations, no excuses, go to your core for these writings…it will pay off.