The Writer’s Cave
March 3, 2009 2 Comments
There are a variety of myths about how books are written. There are even movies about the process, Stranger than Fiction starring Will Ferrell, is one I really enjoyed for the way it twists the myths.
I’ve heard that some authors go into a trance like state for days, or weeks, not sleeping or eating, living on coffee. I know one, multi-published, author who admitted that she will get into a “state” of total fixation, where she grits her teeth, plows through, and gets amazing insights, because of the strain and pressure. She also suffered from severe migraines, needed extensive drug therapy, and suddenly stopped writing. Another friend recently explained how she did this one weekend, a total fixation, where she felt clear and energized. A few weeks later, agents were assuring her, they’d read her novel, that weekend. She’s already sold movie rights.
Many authors who consistently publish, understand storytelling is a process of being consistent. Simple routines that include a good diet, exercise, and spending a lot of time each day, writing. Like any career, the more time focused on the work, the better the brain responds. I’d love to say that all the myths are, myths, but there’s a truth in every myth.
I tried to explain the process of a consistent and healthy writing schedule, to my fellow classmates, in my screenwriting class, and was quickly busted. Jean M Auel ‘s grandson is in my class. What are the odds? She was a tech writer at Tektronix when she put her life on hold to write Clan of the Cave Bear. According to her grandson, Jean will go into an 86 hour “place”, to write. I was a tech writer at Tektronix when one of my coworkers proudly discussed his association with Linda Needham,and the amazing writers group, RCRW. I’ve been associated with this group, these past six years, in a variety of board positions.
In this new millennium of self-help books and new age philosophies, writers acknowledge The Muse and the importance of inspiration. We’re also masters of our own destiny. So instead of entering an unhealthy “state”, the new terminology is the “Writer’s Cave”. It’s a metaphysical place we’ve chosen to enter – to focus. When a writer goes-into the cave- now – it means they unplug-from electronics, email, web-searching. I’m going to give this a try.
My hubby’s out-of-town, for almost two weeks. I’ve got some amazing edits from my friend Kathie Snow, on my memoir of my parents, and insights from an agent who responded to my query. I’ve got suggestions from an editor I met last summer.
I recently viewed a video clip of Allison Dubois from a speaking engagement she did in 2008. This is a woman who, it’s been scientifically proven, talks to dead people. There’s a hit TV show about her. She stated it was four years, after her dad died, before she could talk about it, without the lump in her throat. It’s only been three years, for me, since daddy died, in a car accident, on his first trip, to visit mommy’s grave.
I’m going to do my best to get into that writer’s cave and focus. But right now, the cat wants to come in, the dog wants to go out.