The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, February 07, 2005

Week #4--Yearlong Writer program

So...if you're on week #4 (and of course you can start week #1 at any time), you'll be writing your fourth rough draft this week (keep those stories SHORT!) and polishing the sotry you wrote in week #2. At the end of the week, you'll send it out for editorial purusal.  Maybe it will be accepted, probably it will be rejected.  Can you deal with rejection?  If not, you'd better learn to!  Rejection is the door to success, people.  You must develop the hide of a rhino if you want to protect your heart.  Even more valuable will be to develop a core so strong that your skin can be torn away, and you remain the centered, spiritual being that you are.  You become invulnerable if you go deeply enough into your creative process.  This is what meditation is for, to find the fortress within.  I would suggest the heartbeat meditation for those who are unfamiliar with the inner world.  It is safe, and powerful, and doesn't cost a dime.  You need no gurus or biofeedback tapes.  Just sit quietly, and listen to/feel your heartbeat. The more you relax, the easier it is to find that steady life rhythm.  this is the real you--or at least it is closer to your core.  To reach your goal of being a professional writer, you will need to write a million words.  That's a thousand words a day for three years.  Or three thousand words a day for a year.  Or five hundred words a day for six years--the choice is up to you.  But you must burn your way through the cliched phrasing and hacknied Tolkein knock-offs and the adolescent sexual fantasies and the overly-intellectual treatises. You need volume.  Just as with your kids: the "quality time" concept sucks.  What there is, is quantity time. Quality arises spontaneously, chaotically, according to patterns that are beyond our conscious control.  We must live in mthe space of creativity, breathe it, sleep it. And then, one day when we are not looking the dragons within awaken as our servants instead of our opponents.  And that is a wonderful day.
So what will you write about this week?  Look at the chakras again. If your body healed and healthy?  Your sex drive appropriate and strong?  If not, create a metaphorical story functioning on one of these levels, and write it.  Or take a look at your heart.  Where is the great damage in your heart?  I had issues of love and family, issues of race and culture, issues of identity and self-worth.  Read my work, and you will see these issues played out again and again--self-therapy, therapeutic metaphor plaed out in the arena of commercial writing.  It works so well it's almost cheating. Give it a try!


1 comment:

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