Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living Vicariously

Nursing let me live vicariously through patients in that I experienced many things in life with them that I luckily didn't have to experience myself. Characters let me do that too. And I haven't even scratched the surface of that whole crazy town.

The ability to Vine and Instagram and Twitter and get news at any time of the day leaves little time for introspection. We are constatly entertained. And fewer people are reading. Maybe I'm just writing for myself. Whatever the case, crafting a story makes me think of things in a different way, from the character's point of view and in situations I've never encountered. It's kind of fun - you should try it.

Writers also do weird things for writing reasons that no one else needs to do. My inner editor, the critical voice that never shuts up needs to be silenced sometimes so that I can go off on a tangent and maybe discover something fabulous. Or write a bunch of crap. Either way, creativity is stifled if you are always editing yourself. I had lots of trouble with this. My writing sounded . . . constipated (for lack of a better way to say it - anal retentive maybe?) Those of you who know me are completely unsurprised by this but you might like the way I handled it. Maybe you can even use something like this yourself if you are trying to create something, anything, and your critical voice gets in the way.

I took a small paper mache dress form (all of 1.99 at Michaels) and I did the old decoupage thing to dress her up. I am not an artist in the drawing sense of the word but I can do scissors and glue. Anyway, by the time she was done, blue skirt, red top, pearls, I named her Caliope and she was my inner editor come to life - sort of.

The reason I made her was so that I had a tangible thing to identify as being in my way. Telling one part of your brain to hush does not always work, so Caliope gives me the visual reminder that I am either creating (right side of the desk) or editing (left side of the desk). I had her at work on that desk for a long time to remind me that I used to write and now she's back in action.

I've found it helpful. I can more often just write something completely crazy without hearing "you can't say that," or "nope, someone will identify that asshat." Having the inner editor outside of me, standing on my desk at the ready, is the best tool I've come up with so far to assist my vicarious living. Where shall we go?

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