Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Writing accountability

I've been thinking about writing again lately, writing and composing and a little visual art, also. The problem is, I've been thinking. And thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking. Which is very little doing.

While thinking is an important part of the creative process, it can be frustrating that nothing ever comes to fruition. That made me think back to a conversation I had with my cousin at the beginning of the summer. She recently took a writing class through a college. I asked what her opinion was on the class, and she said that the best part of it was that she had to be accountable to someone in regards to her writing. So often I feel that I just don't have a great idea, or the idea isn't fleshing out as I hoped, or I can't seem to get past a certain point. Usually I have a fantastic idea that I write furiously for a number of pages over a couple of weeks, and then it lies dormant, hidden in the dark recesses of my computer.

Accountability changes all that. I'm not sure I'm ready for an actual class - too much "schooling" is ingrained in me, which would make me desperately work for an 'A' rather than achieve what I'm really after in my own writing. But what might be interesting is a partnership with another artist, someone who is also looking for some motivation in their own artistry. When you have someone to send off a story to, or play a song for, or share a lyric sheet with, then it motivates you to get something done. There isn't grading involved, just feedback, editing, or even just reading and offering a small compliment. A partnership of motivation.

It is really tough when you haven't done much over the past years. Often everything I start seems terrible. Usually it is terrible. The thing is, you have to just do it. Write, write, write. Write pages and stories and poems and characters. Compose songs and choruses and verses and lines. Work with photos and art. Being an artist really is like using a muscle. After years of not using it, it is out of shape. The first efforts are going to be wobbly, awkward, and maybe even painful. But I know there are beautiful things lurking underneath there.

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