Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Get Lost & Write by RM Greenaway

While thinking about this week's question I realized that writing is a form of meditation. People say meditation is good for you, and so far my reply has been "I can't. The brain won't shut down." But from now on I'll tell them I'm a Meditation Master.

Because when writing is going well, we do shut down. We get pulled in and disappear, life as we know it disappears too, and time warps. We're connected with our imaginary world, and don't want to leave it. That's a kind of meditation, I think, even if it involves murder and mayhem. It's just our way.
This week's questions:


Go to the real place

Not so easy for me, when the real place -- North Vancouver -- is an eight-hour drive away, and once there, the traffic is awful.  But I do make the trip whenever possible. The novel I'm working on now takes place largely by the Seymour River, an area where I spent time when I was young. I revisited the place in December. I took a lot of pictures, hiked the trails in the darkness before the dawn. I went down to the water and stood close to where my protagonist gets flung into a frigid pool, and even trespassed a bit through a gap in a fence. I'm glad I did all that, because the Seymour has changed so much from how I remember it. Confidence in your setting helps you get in there and stay.


Another big one for me, which is common to all writers, probably. When I feel I'm losing touch with my main characters, certain playlists bring me back.

Shake it up

Sometimes it takes more work to get lost in the writing. If a scene I'm writing is necessary but uninspiring, it'll take me out of the zone and make me want to play solitaire instead. What often works then is changing the setting to somewhere more interesting, so the characters have something to play against besides each other.


Not enough. I don't even have a routine right now, and if I don't get disciplined and make time for writing, I'll end up in trouble.

That means getting on top of the boring chores (ie today). Overdue taxes is what's nagging me right now, and preventing me from connecting with my imaginary world in a big way. Math, sorting receipts, and sending off the last of my savings to the government are three of my least favourite things.

I also would like to rise earlier and devote the full morning to writing. Four hours should suffice, but six would be ideal. Again, easier said than done. My day-job often gets in the way, and instead of writing I'm deciding what to wear to work (ie tomorrow), another of my least favourite things.

I want to be a paperback writer.... oh ya. 


Paul D. Marks said...

RM, I always wanted to be a paperback writer, too :-) . And one thing I always wanted to do -- and might have once or twice a very long time ago -- was send a query out that started: "Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look?" But these days I doubt almost anyone would get the reference.

Anyway, fun piece.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

It is hard sometimes to get real life out of the way and make time to play with my imaginary friends.

Unknown said...

That's a great intro, Paul. Any self-respecting agent should recognize genius - AND rhythm - and sign you up on the spot!

Susan C Shea said...

Good piece and a truthful reminder there is always something that can be a stick in the spokes of time to write. Carry on!