May 15, 2012

Writing With Your Heart

"No thinking - that comes later. You write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!" -Sean Connery as William Forrester

Two posts ago I quoted Stephen King saying that the most important advice he could give up and coming writers is to simply "Read a lot, and write a lot." Sage advice. Simple, laconic, direct. But it leaves some people wondering how, why, or what the thought process behind that may be. Watching "Finding Forrester" the other day for the first time in a long time and hearing the above quote was like a light bulb flipping on in my head. The perfect way to explain simply...writing, and why it is the first key to writing.

Though King is very terse in his advice to aspiring writers he has said much more on the subject that is often overlooked. And that much more is that writing without the passion, without the heart, without the creativity is often choppy and lacking. It doesn't flow properly. The only method that flows is creating that direct stream to your subconscious, the story that you want to come out. But that stream doesn't flow from your head, it flows from your heart.

"It’s head down, bum up during the creative process. Go with the flow. Let the inspiration work its magic. Later when it’s all down on paper it’s time to turn on the analytical parts of the brain and examine what’s good and what’s, well…that’s what the backspace key is for." -Stephen King

If there's no inspiration, just freaking go with it anyway! If you can let your heart take over and scribble down what comes to mind on instinct, without mulling it over or trying to improve it, you've successfully made that connection to your subconscious. It's when you try to plan and plan and rewrite before you even write that you can end up blocking yourself. Because you've stopped up that stream to your subconscious! All over-thinking does is screw up, tire, and discourage a writer as he's creating a story. "I've given up thinking - it keeps getting me into trouble." -King

Stephen King is a major success as a commercial writer. He's pushed out more bestseller's, had more books sold, and more books made into movies than nearly any other modern day writer. But King and Forrester aren't the only ones who agree on writing from the heart. Dorothea Brande, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, and many others feel the same.

Dean Koontz said this in an interview: "If you give yourself entirely to intuition but then bring hard intellectual analysis to what the intuition produces, you'll be okay." And age old editors and writers alike believe that the single best piece of advice to young writers is simply to write. Article: Single best piece of writing advice - Harper Lee, John Steinback, Carl Sandburg weigh in

If you get nothing else from this article, remember simply that the first key to writing is to write. And the best way to do this is to do so without thinking; to trust your intuition, your subconscious, your heart, and let it take you away.

"When asked, 'How do you write?' I invariably answer, 'One word at a time.'" -Stephen King


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Marlene Saffan said...

Look at descriptive essay for understanding how to write properly

J. Michael Joslin said...

The quote from Finding Forrester is a favorite quote of mine. I built an old fashioned lap top writing desk for when I choose to sit outside and write. Inside the lid is a piece of paper with that quote taped to it. I write historical fiction. My first published book, Thank God for Michigan, I told the story of my 2nd great granfather, who served with the 24th Michigan in the Civil War. It is full of facts, which have to be accurate, but his thoughts, emotions, his reactions in battle were based on how I would have reacted were I to have experienced all that he did. My second published book was less historical, but more a, shall we say for lack of a better description, flight of fancy? It is set during the time of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, or what was known as Bloody Kansas, but I only used that to set the time period I was writing about, and certain events that led to my lead character's story. I was once asked if I use an outline when I write. I answered no, as I could never make one work. Instead, I come up with an idea I want to write about, and once I have that I sit down to write. With idea in mind, and pencil in hand, somehow, I am not quite sure how, words come from my mind, travel down my arm, into my hand and fingers, and my pencil starts to move. I had no idea where the story would take me. I did not even know who the character names would be, and most certainly did not know how it would all end, and did not know until I began that chapter. Risky, yes, but I felt such freedom as I wrote it. So, in a way, I was doing what Forrester instructed. I wrote my first draft with my heart, I rewrote it (several times) with my head. Surprising how liberating that can be. I still do not understand where all if it came from. The human brain is amazing and so complicated. I have had people say to me, "I wish I could write." My response was always the same. If you wish to write, sit down with pencil and paper (or whatever you choose to record it on) and just write the first word. It is a beginning, and if you are meant to write, the rest of the words will follow.

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