I took such a long break from writing, not only here and but also from my book, that I became disenchanted with the whole thing. I thought I was doing great, beginning to work on plot. I found a few tools online for developing plot, and tried to work it out. It sapped the energy right out of my writing, though. I felt like I'd already written the whole thing, and it died right there on my doorstep. So I took a longer break, not being able to write something that was essentially roadkill.
I read "On Writing" by Stephen King. I can't speak highly enough of this book. I loved the look into his life as a writer, the first half is a memoir which focuses on his writing, beginning in childhood. The second half was his advice on writing. He talked about creating a toolbox with which to work from, including vocabulary, grammar, and style. He offered great tips such as "write with the door closed," literally and figuratively. This really resonates with me, as does this quote I read yesterday over on Amber's blog: "Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head," from Finding Forrester.
King also describes his writing as character-driven, beginning with a situation. This made me emphatically nod "yes" and feel reassured that I am not doomed as a writer if I just can't get behind plot-driven writing. To be honest, I can't get behind it. I love characters, first and foremost, and I don't like to figure out the plot beforehand. I have a "situation" in mind, so to speak. My novel begins with something that sets the rest of the story going, but where it goes, I don't yet know. And I like it that way.
I have been taking King's advice to heart. I sit down every day, same time, to write my 1000 words. I sit down and hope the muse shows up, and usually he does. If not, then I write boring stuff. But it's okay, I can always take out the boring stuff later. This way, without a plot drawn out, I am surprised with my characters. They show me what they are doing, and I jot it down. I am beginning to see them in my mind's eye. I catch glimpses of clothing, I hear the emotion in their voices. It's really quite exciting. And so I plod along, 1000 words at a time, in the back seat, taking notes, as I watch my characters go about their lives.
In my life, I strive to be in the moment, and to soak up the details around me, as they work like mental compost to eventually enrich my writing. Also, as cooler weather sets in, I start needing to bake. Thus the cookies begin to be a staple on my counter top. Soon it will be pies, and apple cake. What's your favorite fall treat?
Another question, I may have asked before, but I want to know again. Do you have a book on writing (or your creative outlet of choice) that really speaks to you?