Hi, everyone – Mark here, subbing for Lady Wendelin. (Okay, when the boys were little we had a kid’s book about a knight and a dragon and a fair princess named Lady Wendolyn. It stuck. Kinda like the little boy named Patrick down the street, who our oldest called “Saint Patrick” for the longest time. Or our friend Mary, who the boys called “Mary-Mary”, from the nursery rhyme…)
See, even though the 1st and 3rd frames look identical, they’re not - all three photos were taken in the order shown, a few minutes apart. And she had no idea I was photographing her, as she was working away late Friday night on the ‘SK and the Wayward Parents’. (She was in the dining room, and I was in the kitchen supposedly doing dishes. But I was watching her work - as I am wont to do - and something just caught my eye and I thought I’d take a few pics.) Then, when I looked at them last night, I was taken by the back-and-forth nature of the photos: She’d sit back and think. Then she’d write some. Then more thinking. Then more writing. Etc…
This struck me as a metaphor for the whole creative process. We’ve all heard ‘Writing is Rewriting’. And of course, ‘Writing is Hard Work’. (Both true.) But it also occurred to me that ‘Writing is Thinking’. (I suppose this is a big “DUH!” to most of you, but I’m known to make these very obvious discoveries, which everyone else already knows. Like, I’ll come in from the outside on a sunny day and announce, “Hey, you know the sky is really blue!”)
So, by ‘thinking’ I don’t necessarily mean the analytical kind, where you fall out of the creative flow, but more a mulling over – either what you’ve just written or are about to write - holding the words in your head like stones in your hand, rolling them around and around and trying to get them to fit together smoothly. And not being afraid to toss them back in the stream and fish out some new ones, if they’re not quite right.
Wendelin has talked about the concept of ‘do a chapter, do a chore’. Sometimes, if you’re stuck, it’s good to get away from the keyboard and go do some relatively mindless task for a while. But really, this may just be ‘thinking’ on another level, allowing your subconscious to get into the game.
But regardless, good writing doesn’t seem to be a linear task, at least not for those I know who do it. It’s more like a tennis match, whacking that ball back-and-forth, only you’re playing on both sides of the net.
So, look at the 1st and 3rd frames. That’s where the real writing is happening…