We write to let things off out chest, to think clearer, to express opinions, to make art, to criticize, to analyse, to explain emotion, to feel alive. Yes, I know. I’ve been a person who writes since I was a tiny little girl. That doesn’t mean I’m any good but that’s not the point, to be honest. The point is that I get it. I know a lot of people write and I’m happy so many others in the world understand the joy you can get by creating worlds and characters or even little phrases with a huge amount of truth hidden in them.
So, I thought… Why not share with you my current Writer’s Process – since it changes as I change year after year …more like, day after day! – and share with you some solutions to the problems I have been facing and may sound familiar if you love to write as well.
At the moment, I am in the process of writing a One-Act play. And I have faced three main problems. Firstly and most importantly, I catch myself thinking like a critic while I’m writing. It’s great to be able to criticize your own writing but that should come after you’ve finished, during the editing process, not in the middle of sentences. The second problem I have at this point is destruction. A few years ago, what I was writing was always in my head. The characters became my best friends and the big scenes coming up were all I could think about even during class or other activities. Now, I get so consumed by everyday life, I get more and more detached from the story and that makes me lose my passion for it. Last but not least, I am usually more afraid to explore what I really want to write and I keep comparing my ideas to other peoples. So I had to come up with ways to overcome those struggles and I did my best.
If you’re a person who writes you’ll probably know that inspiration comes when you least expect it. Somehow, you get the best ideas during the exam period or while you’re backpacking somewhere in Spain with friends and you have absolutely no time and peace to sit down and write. Once you get that itch, though… you know it’s time to make time! It’s the only thing on your mind.
Once I find the time to actually sit down and write, all the little things we just mentioned start appearing in your way. Here’s what I do to make it better. First, I try to set the mood. Music is the key to that but whatever else gets you in the right mind and inspires you. We Heart It helps me a lot. I have a huge collection of pictures that inspire me. Also, the sunset is usually the right lighting of the day to trigger my imagination. Find what gets you going.
When there’s not a word coming out of my mind, there is only one solution. Grab that pen and start writing. It could be completely irrelevant or bad writing. Once you start, you’re halfway there. If it doesn’t work, read! Poetry is my key! Once I open one of my favorite poetry books, it’s done. My imagination dances away. If I’m not in the mood for reading though, I start drawing. I sketch scenes and characters, so I have a clear image of them in my head. It always helps even if you’re not great with pencils and colours.
I haven’t found a way to stop doubting my writing, it only stops when I’m really inspired. So, try the ways to get your inspiration to finally arrive and it will free you.
Ernest Hemingway suggested to “Write drunk, edit sober”. If nothing else works, try that!
Have a magical day
by Elena Ktenopoulou
note: The photograph is mine but the art isn’t. It is from a lovely exhibition I attended in Athens in May and I do not own it. The artist is amazingly talented, right?)