You’ve heard me (and other writers) talk about being ‘in the mood’ or ‘in the right mindset’ to write whatever projects they’re working on. In the past it’s ended up being a crutch; I’d waste a good twenty minutes digging through my music collection trying to find the perfect album to listen to for a particular writing session. I used to be really bad with that, but I’ve gotten better. Most of the time now I listen to whatever newer release I happen to have close at hand, or if a specific album if I want to give that one another listen.
Actually, this post isn’t about that. It’s about something I was subconsciously aware of for years, but just recently started monitoring, and it’s kind of interesting. At least to me, anyway.
This one’s about where my mind is while working on whatever project I have in front of me. At present I’m letting my imagination run rampant within the confines of my created world for the new Mendaihu Universe story…I picture novels as one long story of character evolution, where the the only rules are that nothing remains static and that consequences just as important as the actions. I tend to let myself get well and truly lost in my created world; that is, ‘lost’ in the sense that if my brain suddenly and unexpectedly comes up with a doozy of a plot twist and I know it’ll work as part of the whole, I’ll let it take center stage and not hold back. I think of it as writing for an audience of myself, though with full expectation that others will want to read and understand it as well.
Writing nonfiction is somewhat similar, only the boundaries are much tighter…at least that’s been my experience with Walk in Silence. The focus is on the subject matter’s evolution within the confines of reality…thus imagination is reined in considerably, only given to the prose itself. This is also true with my blog posts. Not counting the more personal entries over at my LJ where my writing is more freestyle, I try to give my writing at least a little bit of professionalism. When I’m writing nonfiction, I’m writing for an audience other than myself.
Poetry and song lyrics are a different beast, where I tend to be more emotional with my style. I started writing poetry and songs back in my late teens as a release, but also as a playground for words, where I’d let myself come up with odd metaphors and weird imagery. There’s really no rules here…I just riff it from start to finish. This stuff is totally a personal indulgence, though I’ve been told by listeners that my Flying Bohemians and jeb! lyrics were pretty cool, so I’m fine with that.
The fascinating thing is that, now that I’m working on the new MU story, writing blog entries and (soon) working on Walk in Silence again, I find myself conscious of how my mind will shift from one style to another. It can be tricky, especially if you have a lot of disparate writing ideas milling about in your head, but after all these years I’ve managed to make it work. I think part of it is what I call the ‘going in’ phase of the session. For instance, if I’m about to write the MU story, even before I put pen to paper I’ll start thinking about the characters, get in their heads and emotions for a few minutes to remember where I was.
[Noted, this is where the writing session soundtrack often comes in, and why I’m often a sucker for a certain mood in the songs. The music helps me set the tone of the section I’m writing. This is also true for nonfiction, or at least with Walk in Silence; for that I’m actually listening to the music I’m writing about so I can connect with the subject more clearly and emotionally.]
I think now that I’ve made sense of how my creative mind shifts from project to project, I’ve become better at giving each project a tighter focus. I know how I’m doing it, so I’m less worried about whether or not I’m doing it right…as long as I’m doing it my own logical way, then that’s all that matters.