Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: The Writing Frame of Mind – Broccoli

“…when you don’t know what to do, when you don’t know whether your character would do this or that, you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do.” ~p. 110

Cool. Now we have this magic thing inside us that should direct and guide us, or, in another word: show us the way.

Wait, are you talking about  conscience?

Oh, wait. You’re talking about broccoli.

Yeah, so we call that magical thing as broccoli, I guess.

“You need your broccoli in order to write well.” ~p. 111

Noted. I’m eating broccoli right now.

Oh, that’s not what you meant?

“Sometimes intuition needs coaxing, because intuition is a little shy.” ~p. 112

Right. Of course you’re talking about the Shy Intuition.

I suppose this Intuition has a sibling called Inspiration? Or maybe I tend to get them both mixed up. Sorry.

Funny how they both can be really shy.

And they get braver and less shy after midnight, just when I’m about to go to sleep, then they knocked on my bedroom door and told me to write, right there, right now. Grab your pen, baby.

“If you stop trying to control your mind so much, you’ll have intuitive hunches about what this or that character is all about.” ~p. 113

Ouch. Did you just give me a slap on the back of my head?

“It is hard to stop controlling, but you can do it.” ~p. 113

Oh, great. Now I’m the control-freak.

I’m not.

I swear I’m not.

Except any of you are insane enough to make me a coordinator or a chairperson of something. I made my one of my crews cried, remember?

Wait, that doesn’t mean I’m a control-freak, right?

I’m not, believe me.

. . .

Okay, I guess you don’t believe.

I guess Mr. Intuition and Inspiration don’t believe it either.

Fine, fine. Maybe I’m a mind-control-freak.

I’m a person with massive plans in my head, sorry.

I’m a person who always plan everything that I do and say. Including in my writing, despite the fact that I kept saying I love free writing.

Oh, I love free writing, I really do. I can just stare on the screen of my laptop and start to write once I get a topic, especially once I know what I’m gonna write exactly. But whenever I’m not sure what to write, I barely write.

(Which perhaps explains the inconsistency of the number of posts I publish every month.)

Sure, many times I let my mind wander around, and then my hands would take the lead and just type and type. But most of the times, the result of this usually ends up in either Trash or Recycle Bin. Really.

I guess what really struck me as I’m reading this book is the fact that it’s not actually the plot alone that holds the story. It’s actually the characters I created and the story that come with them. That’s a brand new idea to me. Even when I send short stories to magazines, what I usually do is plan a plot, and once it’s completed, I’d began to write. But whenever my plot is still incomplete, it felt so… so useless to write.

There’s always a first time for everyone, indeed, eh?

“Writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself and going over the material coldly.” ~p. 114

Oh, shoot. Really? Seriously?

Why do I feel like I’m so not prepared and ready for this?

Oh, butterfly in my stomach. Butterfly in my stomach!