Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snow Fall and Writing

As I was shoveling the 7 to 10 inches of snow from my walkways this morning, I thought how like writing that was. One shovelful, one small chunk at a time. I could see where I needed to shovel to - the road, the driveway, the house--just as with a story goal {which you should always have before you start to write} you know where you need to go, all you have to do is get there. One small shovelful, one small word, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter at a time.

If there is one thing I learned from NaNoWriMo it's that when its large its hard [your goal 50,000 words] - when its small its easy - [1,667 words a day]. Like the snow, one shovelful at a time, one walkway at a time, one job done in fine style in no time at all.

So even if it's drifted, there's away through that drift. Even if you are feeling blocked, there is a way through that block. One tiny step at a time.

"Art is made from talent and character. Adverstiy strengthens character and can strengthen our art as well," says noted writer, artist, screen writer, musician Julia Cameron. She used a phrase to describe one of her acquaintences that absolutely makes him visible. "With a face like a ravaged cathedral and a shock of snow-white hair to top his alpine height..." Do you need to see a picture - or does her magic with a pen, give you a sense of the man...can you see from the tiny shovelful of snow how she is building the snowbank while she cleans the walk? Her person becomes a living, breathing human being before your eyes, one word, one phrase, one sentence at a time.

Don't believe me how completely one step at a time does the job... look at a blizzard. How does it start? One tiny, beautiful snowflake at a time falling in just one place. As it perseveres adding one snow flake after another it grows - soon you have 2, 4, 6, maybe 10 inches of snow. It still is only falling one tiny snowflake at a time in that one spot. Build your writing the same way. Put one word after another until you have a clause, add more until you have a sentence. Make another one and add it to the first and soon you will have a paragraph. String some paragraphs together and you'll have a page, then another page until you have a chapter. If you keep going one word at a time, you'll have a novel in no time.

Somewhere it was said that you can't see where you are going at night, well not any farther than your headlights can illuminate. But you can make the whole journey by following as far as those headlights can reach - and just keep doing that all the way to your destination whether it's a mile or a couple hundred miles. Same with snow flakes and shoveling snow or books and writing them it gets done one bite - or byte at a time.

So get the pen to the page - write the first word--that's all it takes. Happy shoveling!


unwriter said...

Don't use a snowblower, at least in writing because that picks up and throws out trash as well! This is an excellent analogy.

Well done!

JanetElaineSmith said...

Very cool take on what might otherwise be seen as an obstacle.
Janet Elaine Smith, sitting inside a warm house with 8" of new snow outside