Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Writing as meditation

For ENGL-646

Writing Down the Bone was always on my list of will-read-someday books. Recommended by Heather Sellers (Page After Page) and other writers, but I never remembered to seek it out. I don’t know why I waited with as much as I highlighted in the first half. Like The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori, it reminds me of the Buddhust practices I want to turn into habits for my life: more meditation, less ego-centric head trips. But I’m finding lots of writing tips as well.

I started timed writing practice this morning and my hand cramped up with five minutes. It was hard sitting down words without a planned “this is what I want to write about.” I know I need this practice time to help me not get wound up when I’m actually working on a composition. The “Fighting Tofu” chapter touched on what has felt like my writing problem for the last few years. If I get froze up over writing, I try to use discipline to beat my lazy half into working and then just feeling more guilty when that doesn’t work. I love the idea of writing out lists of your obsessions; maybe, part of the reason why fanfics have been so easy is the degree of obsession involved.

Okay, my bias is improving my current work habits. I can see using the practice technique in a classroom setting to get used to the idea of writing before scaring students with structure like plot, scenes, and characters. Goldberg’s ideas fit in with Donald Murray’s implications that you need to teach writing as a process and not a product. Looking back at my own grade school experience, I remember lessons on brainstorming and essay form (prose fiction I learned outside of class), but no lessons on rewriting. Almost like the implication was we are supposed to write a perfect first draft and just look over it for spelling mistakes. I know later when I was helping people write fanfics with a series of tutorials, editing was the part most understood the least.

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1 comment:

Mez said...

Damn you blogger, stop eating my comments!

I think it sounds like an interesting book - tell me more about it.