Fiction Daily.
A blog on writing, writers and why we read. Posted most mornings by Marion Blackburn.
The sweet spot
The second week of the New Year and work is trickling in. Already, my head is clouded with obligations -- take the trash out, vacuum, bank, oil change, bills.

Where is the novel now?

First, I'll back up a bit. What exactly happens when I sit down to write? At first, nothing. At all. Except I want to eat.

If I sit there long enough, sentences start to take shape. The names on the page begin to breathe, they have thoughts and desires. They begin to live and as they do, I can write about them.

The trees and plants in their yards need tending, they need to eat. They feel afraid and act. Because of how I've created them, they feel compelled to do stupid things and I let them.

In order for these sentences to take shape, I need a certain quietness of mind and mental focus.

Too much inactivity, though, and I have nothing to say. I sit at my desk and everything becomes flabby -- the writing, the plot, my characters and me.

It's the risk I run when everything is settled and arranged too perfectly. There's no life left.

Other times, though, when life heats up and chaos surrounds me no matter how hard I try to keep it at bay, there's no chance I can write. Even if I sit down, what will come out? More scattered, fragmented, chaos.

That's no way to write.

Between these two states lies the sweet spot for creativity.

AHEAD: Writing and loafing
2008-01-11 15:35:26 GMT
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