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How do I write?

Finding my voice has been perhaps the most difficult struggle of the last year (writing how others think I’m supposed to write, constantly battling with how I want to write).

My biggest challenge has been to accurately convey on the page what is in my head. In my head it is so clear, I actually see the pictures, follow the action and hear the words. As I’m watching/listening I know with absolute certainty that this will be ‘the’ scene of the film. I get so excited I can’t wait to get it down.

Aside from when technology gets in the way, what infuriates me the most is that as I sit down to write I automatically stop the ‘thinking/imagining’ and go into ‘writing’ mode. I can’t possibly not write and yet I fail again and again to get out what is really going on inside.

The key reason I struggle, I think, is that I’ve stopped listening and allowing the story to flow. I’m not in the ‘zone’. My mistake was thinking that getting into the zone/dream had to come first and then the writing.

What works for me now, is using my writing diary to practice writing ‘by listening’, listening to that inner voice. When it works, it’s almost like taking dictation. After that as a warm up it’s much easier to get back to my story and literally dream/meditate while writing.

At the same time as taking up writing full time, I also started yoga and meditation. I didn’t initially see a link between the two but in practice the yoga and meditation have helped me become much more aware of the moment and taught me not to get stuck in a moment. I’ve learned to be a better observer. Meditation has taught me to listen to my inner voice and also to question and explore my thoughts without allowing any one of them to hijack others. In other words, it has helped me to open up my inner dialogue or conversation with myself.

One of the thoughts that tends to ‘hijack’ my creativity is ‘I’m not good enough’. That fear of failure can be huge and in the past has very frequently led to my giving up. Now though, I can recognise it for what it is. It’s just a fear, a transitory emotion. I can allow it to pass, simply by noticing it and moving on to other more interesting thoughts. Very often this ability to let go of less useful thoughts leads to a new and different view point. The fears and negative feelings although very real are often so pervasive that they ‘block’ the more exciting and creative stuff from coming to the surface. I now see this as a ‘layer’ of necessary evil which I have to break through to get to the good stuff. When I hear the ‘you’re not good enough’ voice, I now simply think, ‘oh, that again. Well if I’m not good enough, I’ll get better with practice. I’ll never know if I don’t try’. The good news is that the more often I break through it, the easier it becomes.

I wish I’d got a notebook earlier on. If you haven’t already got one, do yourself a favour and get a notebook and use it everyday. Why? To record those magical moments when you’re lost in your story (listening to the inner voice)and are in deep thought/meditation/daydream.

In my case I ‘see’ the finished film before I write it and later when I’m stuck with a scene, I stop writing and go back to the ‘film’ in my head and rewatch the scene. The scene will very often ‘write itself’ in this way and I get really excited about how much better this will work — the muse has hit! I run to my laptop and… it’s dead/can’t find the right file/get distracted by an email or message/ my laptop is in another room and by the time I get there half the story’s faded from view… I start typing and in the process stop listening to the ‘rest of the story'…… That’s why I need a notebook.

Tomorrow - Where do I write?

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