Talia started Round #7 of our AW Chain. She asked a very good question that all writers should ask of themselves - when should we STOP writing?
As a writer, I hope that time never comes when my writing has to cease. What would become of me if I were not able to express myself through the written word? To me writing has always been a major part of my persona, a stabilizing force in my life. But if my work or my readers suffered from it, I would definitely have to rethink the way in which my thoughts/ideas were being translated onto paper (literal or virtual).
A friend and fellow journalist recently offered some advice on what to do when our writing just isn’t what it should be. She was in the midst of writing a “very important story for a very important magazine” and was fretting over every word. Her photographer boyfriend came to the rescue with the answer. As she began to flip out with panic, he simply told her to “relax, lie down, close my eyes and just listen.”
“He then read the story out loud to me, word by word, sentence by sentence, slowly, clearly, unrushed. Hearing my story through his voice, I could see where it stumbled. I could hear the structure, the highs and the lows. The long sentences. The words, the rhythms. I could see how some passages were stronger than I’d intended. I saw where things fell flat. But most of all, as he read, I could hear what I’d written with distance and clarity. And it was good. Great, even. I stopped panicking. A few minutes later, I was able to smooth out the rough edges and send off the story with confidence.”
To find out the results of this exercise and subsequent story, please see Mridu’s blog post
Without giving it away, we’ll just say that I have taken her suggestion under advisement.
Another thing to do when getting frustrated to the point of giving up, try switching to another assignment and then come back to it; provided you’re not working under the threat of a serious deadline. Or if the type of writing or genre you’re working with simply “isn’t working”, try another one. To spice things up, try a subject you’ve never attempted before. You may just find out that you excel at it.
Or you can do something way out there like I did - co-write a Bollywood script with my writing partner. We thoroughly researched the subject that we wanted to explore. The result was a tri-cultural, semi-historical script, covering three generations, complete with song and dance sequences written in (now you know why Indian films tend to run about 3 hours long), which we hope will be accepted by a director/producer in India.
It took us over a year to complete and we had so much fun doing it. Of course we’ve also chosen which actresses and actors we want to take on the roles too. Whether or not that part materializes remains to be seen but we’re hopeful.
So I guess that would bring me to ask the question - Have you ever switched subjects/genres or written something else totally out of the ordinary for you?
Let’s see what our next linker (is that politically correct?) in the chain Gillian has to say about it.