Snagging your writing mojo is really an exercise in accessing yourself. Writing is a solitary endeavor. You battle against yourself, but my experience with most of our battles is that we fight the wrong ones. When you desire to write your passion, whether fiction, non fiction, we tend to wrestle with rules. Not just any rules. Forget the rules of grammar, punctuation, syntax, and all that crap. We may fight those demons on some minor scale, but most often we fight rules of engagement.
Do you remember the manner in which the British was portrayed fighting battles with their lines behind lines behind lines of redcoats, exposed to the enemy? I always thought, “What a ridiculous way to fight! You place your military in obvious danger. They’re sitting ducks. Easy targets.
I feel often we fight our inner demons in that manner. We lay siege in and attempt to overwhelm. We push through with tactical marches, our only goal is to acquire the target. We ignore the passions of the fight. We ignore the snipers and focus on the goal. We separate ourselves from any other destination but the physical writing. This is why I struggle with the “writers write” truism.
We’ve become good at sliding ourselves away emotionally from tasks. We slip into work mode and we bore through our days, feeling some sense of accomplishment when we hit milestones or complete something. Often when we do this, we skirt our heart. The goal becomes more important than the journey. The moment is sacrificed for the greater good of completion.
I see, hear, touch, smell, and taste this in my life. I see people with glazed eyes and glazed hearts. I hear music composed in glitter with no substance. I touch temporary products with built-in obsolescence. I smell hints of mold and decay covered by perfumes. I taste fruits and vegetables with waning flavors, once vibrant, now only mere visual reproductions of what once owned zest in generations past.
Our world trains us to write, speak, feel, and dream in these same manners. Bypass your heart. Bypass your soul. Don’t place your blood, sweat, and tears into your writing. Don’t access those dark recesses within you dying for light and release. Keep everything tame. Cover everything with glitter and shiny objects. Don’t allow your humor to get out of control. Silliness is, after all, a sign of immaturity. Tears emanate from your own decisions in life. Buck up!
The goal is to write a book. The goal is to grab an end product. The goal is the focus.
I cannot refute the previous three sentences. They stand as truth. So do tasteless fruits and vegetables. So do apathetic populations. So does shallow music. So do televisions and cars and computers which die or get replaced every few years. So does the rotting of our lives getting olfactory coverups. So does the stereotypical Redcoat approach to victory by sheer force of numbers and firepower to attain a goal. Truth in our modern world.
“Stop and smell the roses” stands as merely a catchphrase of a song from long ago. How many of us allow ourselves to do so when writing? How many of us truly access the issue behind the tree taking potshots at our approaching brigade of soldier-ideas marching mercilessly toward completion of our book.
Lasting stories own a soul. Moving prose and poetry addresses the emotional trip, the footsteps, the falling to the knees, the tears, the struggles. We can recount events all day long. We can “tell” the world how wonderful, how tough, how long, how arduous, how painstaking, how crazy our story is. But will we bare our souls to show the world what was swept under the rug. Will we reveal the damage before the triumph.
Here’s something to consider. No victory is ever won without struggle, sacrifice, perseverance determination, love, hate, values – the list goes on and on. Are you more focused on your story, that you’re creating a modern, soulless world of words? A world of words which bypasses the true passions which fuel the story?
This day and age, we are not practiced at slowing down. Listening to our hearts. Accessing the minor detail which in truth hold the heart and soul of everything we do. We gloss over life. We’re reduced to sound bytes. We’re reduced to fast everything. I’m telling you true. You may well write your book quickly, with passion, with love, with tears, with laughter. You may find that accessing the journey’s details, the details owning the true flavor of your heart and soul, delivers an urgency and a drive which refuses to release your writing passion. When you give yourself the permission to walk the graveyard of memory, dig up the corpses of fallen dreams and passions and loves and hates and scars and triumphs, look deeply into their essence, and then describe what you feel, your book will freaking write itself so quickly you will not know what hit you.
Writing trances explode from that stroll through the graveyard of memory. The ability to access those touchstone moments. The willingness to step into truths you’d often prefer to march past. Make no mistake, memory is a graveyard of life. Moments memorialized, marked or unmarked, memory holds the key to passion. Often the ill-marked graves are the ones we miss, or purposefully avoid. Even the positive highs come at a price and we don’t like to expose how we got there, just simply that we did arrive.
I challenge myself, and all writers, to step away from the goal and write the journey. Dig up the memories and laugh and cry with them. They are there for a reason. They hold the power you seek. Not your clever prose and your perfect syntax. Your ability to unfold the story and reveal its essence holds your key. Live your book. Writing is a “re-living” of life, whether fiction or non fiction. How vibrant and full of flavors and passions we allow our writing to take on will determine more about planned obsolescence or longevity with our words. In a world dominated by GMO’s, sound bytes, superficial thinking and dumbed-down education, challenge yourself to access your soul.
Paint your book, your story, your passion, with the words of truth from the graveyards of your memories. You own the power to revive them. Breathe life into their cold embers. Anything is possible when you give yourself permission to do so…