Mark Terry

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Just Write, for God Sakes!

January 17, 2007
I popped on, a couple days slow, to Jeff Cohen's blog and he talks a bit about some writer who's going to write in public while people watch. That's fairly amusing, but what really attracted me was this:

I don't believe writing is a mystical process. I don't believe in muses. I don't think I write fiction by communing with unseen beings, sacrificing a goat to the proper deity or buring the proper incense, although you're free to try any of these things, as long as you don't blame the goat thing on me when the cops show up at your apartment door. I think writing is an intellectual process that takes place between the ears and shows up on the page. It's a creative job, but a job, nonetheless.

But it's a very personal process to me, one that I couldn't ever do if I thought someone were looking over my shoulder.


I think you can definitely mystify the process, but mostly it's describing the images in your head. And they're not quite images, I don't think, any more than when I hear people describe reading as like watching images. It's a much more complicated neurological process than strictly watching a movie in your head, just like dreams are.

It's something we learn. It's something we do. It's, gulp, something we are.

But I don't need to be more superstitious about it than necessary. Try to show up in the same place pretty much at the same time and write. Just do it, as the Nike commercials say. Treat it like a habit and it becomes a habit.

Best,
Mark Terry

3 Comments:

Blogger spyscribbler said...

That's funky! I suppose I write in public, but no one watches me, thank goodness.

Sometimes I get the watching-a-movie-in-my-head flow, but, strangely enough, my writing is out the tube when it happens. I can jot down quick impressions, but that's about it.

That's okay, though. There's always tomorrow to make it sound better!

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I definitely don't like to have anyone hanging over my shoulder when I write. Harlan Ellison mentioned writing a story while sitting in a shop window once.

Writing is largely intellectual I think. (Is that a pun?) There's some aspect that seems beyond my control, though. Some unconscious process. Maybe if I could identify and control what is now unconscious I'd write better. There's nothing coming in from the outside though. How could there be?

11:23 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm working on a kid's book and I'm doing it on a laptop upstairs in the evening (because it's more or less just for fun) and my oldest son likes to plop down next to me and read over my shoulder as I write and IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!

12:03 PM  

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