Monday, November 01, 2010

outside the conservatory, and a bit on writing process

These were a few shots I took outside the conservatory.  Once I walked by the door, it was hard to stay interested in what is a gorgeous garden. All I wanted to do was get inside!

Next comes a series of photos at one of my favorite places on the earth. I've been many times but never took photos. This time I did.

I'm labeling these posts as writing in addition to the place names - because for me, seeking out these magical places feeds my writing whether or not I end up using the places, or anything I see while exploring them, in the work itself.

One of the best ways to deal with writing blocks, or to stimulate a new project, is to get away from the desk and go out into the world, especially outside the circle of our everyday routine.

For me, finding places that have been around longer than I have always stirs things up in a wonderful way. I can feel the stories of all the people who have lived there, traveled there, remain there - swirling in a sort of wonderful cauldron of creative unconsciousness. It puts me right in the place where I want to be to access my own stories floating around in the deep places we all carry with us but don't always recognize when busy with our daily lives.

Sometimes I find a path for my story through making my own journey to new or beloved places. And other times, like this one, I feel like the path was already there inside my head, and in a streak of pure synchronicity, I managed to recreate it in my actual travels. I could feel the distinct sensation this trip that I was following the path of the main character in the new book, which is at the moment nothing more than an idea, a premise, with one character vaguely in mind.

And yet as we went from place to place last week, I could feel her becoming more solid, and was able to begin to see a little form coming to the idea. This part of the writing (or creative) process is nebulous and I don't think people write much about it. The focus tends to be on how to sit down and write, getting the words onto the page or the screen. But this part, the part where it's all wispy and not graspable, is in my opinion the most important part.

It's where we trust that the germ of something is worthwhile, and where we allow the unnamed magic to happen without trying to plan it or control it.

It's a valuable time for us as individuals too - allowing ourselves to be in the numinous. It's healing, it's transforming, and all kinds of good things come when we let it happen. Not just in our writing, but in our lives.


Jenn said...

Very insightful. I am the same way when it comes to getting over those writer's blocks. I just have to get up, get out of the house and go be part of something bigger than me. Go walk through the woods, visit a quiet place and just be part of it, letting my mind go and wander as it will is often the only way to get through a stubborn block.

I've enjoyed your Biltmore photos...brought back a lot of memories from a trip I took there with the family of my best friend when I was in grade school.

billie said...

Thanks, Jenn. I think you nailed it - something bigger than us is usually what works.

Glad the photos brought back some memories!