12/11/07

My Writing Life is Like Playing Pinball

Inland Empire Girl posed this sibling assignment to Raymond Pert and myself. What does your writing life consist of? What works for you? What advice would you share with other writers? You can find IEG's here, and RP's here.
As I think about my writing life, it reminds me of playing a game of pinball.

I pull back the plunger and I let the ball of ideas shoot out onto the playfield.

And it ricochets around for a while.

If I’m lucky, it lands in a target, lights flash, and I earn some points.

Those are the days I write something of use.

I have no set time to write.

But I write all the time, almost every day.

I write a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

I earn some points the days…

I write a newspaper article.

I write a blog post.

More lights flash if I do the following…

I write a play.

I write a Christmas program at church.

I create a video.

But often the ball of ideas come out, and the board is like my mind, with that ball going back and forth, and, if I’m good enough, I don’t lose the idea because I keep thinking of it, and flipping it back into my mind to germinate.

A lot of my writing happens in my head, and my ideas kick around there for days, weeks, months, sometimes years.

Then I sit down and have some time to devote to a particular project I am writing, and it seems to flow out. Then I become “The Pinball Wizard”. I’m in the zone. Everything comes together and it is as if my body and the pinball machine become one, and I keep racking up points, and lights flash, and bells ring, no tilting, and I earn all kinds of bonus points and replays.

“He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
He plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball”

My writing is often very intuitive. I just let it develop. I think some research has often been done, but again, it has rolled around in my head for a while, then comes out in the form of something written.

That is how I wrote my play. I thought about it, consciously and subconsciously for months, then had a Saturday where I could sit, uninterrupted for a day, and I wrote the first draft in a day.

I have been writing a book for a few years. Currently, one of my characters is going to be a psychopath. I research a bit here and there on the subject, and try and remember all the creepy men Ann Rule has written about in her many books.

I’m always writing short little performances for events in our community that PKR and I are asked to perform at, such as a Harvest Party at church, a Cabaret at the Wallace Elks, or a skit at school telling about my GEAR UP program.

It is fun to take a song and rewrite the words to make it fit a certain performance.

But there are times and a need to journal, and write down what is going on in my life. My journaling is writing letters to God. He is my audience.

There are so many things I want to write.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head.

Ping, ping, ping.

And that is my problem sometimes.

Ping, ping.

I find it hard to focus, because there are so many things I want to write about, and stories I am developing in my head, that it gets overwhelming at times.

Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.

But then, I find those rare occasions when I do have a day I can sit down, and it all comes out at once.

What advice do I have for other writers?

Write. I don’t care what you write, but just write. And try and do something every day.

Read. Read authors who write well. I think you soak it in whether you realize it or not.

Experience creativity in many forms. Go to plays. Look at art. Listen to music. Read Shakespeare. See good movies. Watch good television.

Be a creative person, and live a creative life.

All of this will help you become a better writer.

1 comment:

Inland Empire Girl said...

What an excellent way to use the pinball analogy. I loved how you desribed all the ways you gather ideas and the tips you shared. Fabulous post.