Everyone is requested to think about their writing process. How would you define that process? When you say that you are waiting for a ‘spark’ to ignite the creative juices, do you know what that spark is? How it looks like? Feel like? Taste like? What are you waiting to understand before you can unleash your ink on the page? Is it an imagine of a character? A specific setting? A line? A face?
Whatever it is, do you understand why it is so important to your writing? To your process? Do you want to understand it? Do you want to control it? Take charge? Or at least make an attempt? If yes, I’d like to you to think of a metaphor that would explain the process. How does the metaphor capture the different stages of your writing? How does it communicate that process to someone? Can you give a parallel analysis of how the metaphor not only mirrors but gives a detailed breakdown description of the process? This information should enable me to follow step-by-step instruction of how you work. Is this possible? How detailed can you be? How much can you unlock? I.e. Someone once told me that their writing process is like a kite (metaphor). When they begin a new writing they envision the process to be like building a kite. First you need material; plastic, sticks, string, pins, etc. These in their writing process mirrors research. For instance, you need your grounding data or evidence – sticks hold or provide the basic structure for a kite. So they will look for them first to build the skeleton of a kite. In their writing, this could mean key grounding literature. If you are writing a book about Zombies, what are the basic elements which you must adhere to or establish for your story to hold? Etc… One can go on to explain how the metaphor reveals how and where the writer places themselves in their writing and defines a sense of direction.
If you’ve never did this before, take the challenge and you will see it will start to show you, at the very least, how well you understand or have taken some things for granted in your writing. This process might be spontaneous and mysterious for many but within that there is great room for a writer to
understand the workings behind it. Try new things, learn how to stimulate yourself and your writing. We might not have figured out the secret to teach writing but we know how to enable the process. So take a chance. Write a metaphor you think would best explain your process and post it here. You might be amazed at something small you discover about your writing.
Is this important?
Well, you decide.
Date: 4 March 2013
Venue: The Wits Writing Centre