Fiction in a flash. But first…
I was listening to an audio book by Bobby Chiu, called “The Perfect Bait” (>listen here< ), and something he said got me thinking. Mister Chiu is an award winning artist, but the advice he was giving through this “book” could be applied to various aspects of everyday life, which is actually what he says if you give it a listen over at YouTube (see that link up there…).
Something he said had to do with “doodling”, you know, the aimless* art of just drawing for the sake of drawing, and not drawing for the sake of learning. He encouraged anyone who wants to be great at drawing/painting/art or basically anything else to practice with mindfulness, with the idea of gaining something from the exercise. Don’t just let your mind wander with a pencil in its fingers, but encourage it to gain something, to work at one aspect of what you want to learn.
I took this and applied it to my writing. the way i write is the way one would simply allow something to dribble out of the and of their pencil. I mindlessly make shapes and compositions that, even if they do eventually look good, or sound good/interesting, they’re disjointed from anything else i might have written. even if I write under the same theme, the same imaginary world where all my characters and stories are, there is no cohesion, and any that is is revealed only after years of mindlessly wondering/wandering about in there. If all I ever do is write in thoughtless sketches, just letting the thoughts and ideas dribble out of my mind and onto the page, then that is all I will ever have.
Don’t get me wrong. I love love sketching out ideas, and I love it when something comes to you as the product of the Muses, or something you’ve seen/heard/experienced, and you write it down and flesh it out as the ideas continue in a long string. I love that. It’s cathartic and incredible to create something. However, that is all I have ever really done, played with ideas instead of utilizing them and practicing mindfully. I’d be all: “Structure? what’s that? Plot? Who needs it! Knowing anything beyond its awesome first inception and creation in a flurry of amazement at your own incredible genius? What the hell for?!”
Clearly there are many people who can succeed with these types of mindsets. I am not one of them. Ideas and sketches are wonderful, but if they take you no further than their beautiful debut then they are of no use, aren’t they? If we want to make something amazing, create a work that you will see somewhere – a painting, a film, a book, a life well lived and feel that you have achieved something, we cannot stop at the ideas and let what they could ultimately come together to make fade into the recesses of our minds?
Say you want to draw a rabbit (say it!). Don’t sketch some form of an idea and then, even if it looks pretty much like a rabbit, and even pretty good, don’t stop until you have learned something. Go in with a goal. Maybe you want to just get the ears as perfect as you can with the skill set you currently have, then by Glob sketch and sketch until you are able to draw those ears like only you can. We must move forward. With resolution and learning in mind.
“What’s that you say? “‘Caleb, you’re such a gifted blog writer, but also after six paragraphs I’m getting pretty bored.”
Fret not. here is what I am getting at. I have decided to accept a personal challenge, one that was inspired by this little baby over at Chuck Wendig’s digs. I have egregiously missed the deadline, but what the hey, I’m gonna give it a crack anyway. The former novel-slash-paragraphs above were merely my manifesto, so to speak. They are the reasonings behind the endeavors that you, unknown reader (hello), if you choose to do so, will see in posts that will be coming forthwith.
I shall probably ruin and undo any and all goodness that I may have sited or inspired above, but the purpose is not to be perfect, but to do something with what you love, and to eventually do it well. Maybe you like me, have never finished a story, even though you would love to be an author one day, or even have the satisfaction of finishing something in your life for once. If so, maybe sound off below if you have something that you want to finish.
Ciao for now,
*I love sketching (I think I said this) and it is awesome to relieve stress and chill out. It isn’t always aimless, not if the aim is to kick back and unwind…