The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thoughtlessness, Like Stretchy Pants, is Put On Just for Fun

By Andrew Tibbetts

It occurred to me last night why my writing output has dwindled. I’m taking it too seriously. I spend a lot of time thinking about short stories, reading other people’s short stories, reading doctoral dissertations on the short story, arguing with other writers about the short story, thinking about my writing career, plotting my ascension in the literary world- oh and so much more! And it all sits like a weight on my brain. No wonder a poor little tale can’t crawl out from under it.

I just read an article about David Lynch’s new film, his first in five years, “Inland Empire”. He started filming before he knew what he was doing. Before he knew what it was about. Instinctively. Now, you may not like David Lynch but you have to admire the guts it takes to do that. He’s come out recently as an adherent of transcendental meditation. Which makes sense. His art is an extension of his practice.

I need to have more fun with writing. I need to be mindless about it…I’m going to stop right here, before I spin this new insight into yet another grand theory. The grand theory of how you shouldn’t have a grand theory.

Nanowrimo is coming up and it’s the perfect chance to write without agenda, just for the fun of it. National Novel Writing Month is an event with thousands of participants all around the world. The goal is to crank out a short crappy novel in November. Hey, if it’s not crappy- that’s bonus! But don’t worry about quality. It’s the perfect excuse to send your inner critic out for coffee and then move away so he can’t find you until December. You can always take the rest of the year to revise if you like and shape it into something ‘worthy’. Or you can just use the experience as practice in being spontaneous as a writer. That’s what I need. I’m going to David Lynch my way through November. Meditate and write mindlessly. Or mindfully. Or that intersection where mindless and mindful cross.

Many of the Canadian Writers Collective will be taking part in Nanowrimo this year and we’ll take some time to share our experiences with you and each other. It’ll be way more fun for you if you join in. Post your comments on our blog. Our blog is your blog!

Have fun!


Blogger Patricia said...

I'm getting really excited about it Andrew, although I'm still working on the novel I started there last year, I have about....12500 words...however, 10,000 of those were written during nanowrimo...I need this kick in the a--!!

mindlessly write, let the words fly..xoxo

Thu Oct 05, 01:30:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Encouraging post, Andrew, and a good reminder that it's an exercise if nothing else...I think I may give it a try after all. Do many people really get to 50,000? How many is that each day? More than 1000 I guess.

Thu Oct 05, 03:45:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Let it all hang out, Andrew!

Thu Oct 05, 07:31:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I've done it for the past two years and I've never got to 50,000. But I found it quite inspiring, and those beginnings were promising.

Most of my finished stories brewed in my brain for years and years and then suddenly pop out. I think I have a long gestation period from conception to birth.

So Nanowrimo might just be a roll in the hay.

Fri Oct 06, 10:15:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

I knew I was on the right track with my mindlessness!

Sat Oct 07, 08:32:00 am GMT-4  

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