Best and Worst Writing Moments


Was just part of a great panel over on Eve's Fan Garden where we were talking about our favorite and least favorite parts of writing. It was a fun talk and I thought I should bring it on over here.

For me, the best part of writing is when something completely unexpected happens. Those times when you're writing away and suddenly a character says or does something you didn't plan or a new character pops up out of nowhere and takes the story in a completely new direction. Moments like that are what we're really all looking for, right? Those moments of inspiration so mysterious that even we don't know here they come from. It's easy to see why people used to believe those ideas literally came from somewhere else, gods, sprits, whatnot. It really feels like the idea is coming from somewhere else.

I guess what's so satisfying about the inspired moments is that when you're in one you feel disconnected from your self, from your daily worries and the carping voice of your internal censor and book critic. Your mind is clear and simple and filled with just one thing, an idea, and the world is nothing but your fingers on the keys and the words appearing on the screen as if by magic. You're existing in that single moment alone. How rare is that? And how great?

The opposite of this is those moments for me is when I'm grinding away at an idea, trying to force pieces together. Trying to make things happen, instead of letting them happen. In those moments the characters just sit there waiting, staring up at you as if to say "ok smart guy, get us to point B now and make it interesting!"  This is when I start to force things or try and be clever (boy that never works) which leads to overdoing it, and worry and stress and self doubt. That internal critic starts to howl.

It's interesting to me that when artists talk about art, or athletes talk about sports, how common it is for them all to talk about striving for those rare selfless moments. Athlete's say they're in the zone. Actors say they're in the moment. Writer's talk about the moments when the characters take over. In all cases we're talking about the idea of losing your self to the game or the scene or the chapter.

There are alot of reasons that we do what we do-to tell a story, to communicate an idea, to connect with a reader-but I wonder how much if it is also about chasing that feeling.

How about you all? What are the best and worst parts of writing for you?

4 comments:

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

I am not a writer, but I can only imagine the ups and downs they go through

Alex said...

For me, the worst part is starting. I find it difficult and foreboding to start piecing together a world and everything on page because it is already in my head and I know it; therefore it feels unnecessary to have to write it down.

The best part for me is creating a world and characters and then watching how they develop. I have a general idea of where they'll go, but how they get there can startle me. It's one of those selfless moments you're talking about.

Faith E. Hough said...

The best part: when it works.
The worst: when it doesn't. ;)

Kerrie said...

Best part: sending off a completed assignment

Worst part: staring at a blank screen.