Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, April 2, 2010

Trusting the Process

I haven't written much lately about my new writing projects because I felt as if I hadn't made much progress on them and didn't have a lot to say. But I had a session with my writing coach, Mark David Gerson, author of "Voice of the Muse," on Tuesday and he helped me see things differently.

My memoir had a foundation (my past) and structure (my journals). I could choose a beginning and I knew the ending (at least as far as I'd come on my journey at the time of writing). Unless you are the kind of fiction writer who knows the story they want to write, writing a novel is a whole new world. All I have is this voice which came to me in Ireland saying, "tell my story." I am getting bits and pieces. Mark David said it's as if I have a giant jigsaw puzzle. The cover of the box is the novel, which already exisits, I just can't see it. The bits and pieces are the pieces of the puzzle, strewn over the floor. When you are working a jigsaw puzzle, you may get a few pieces that fit together, but you don't know where they go in the big picture for quite some time.

When I finished my memoir (a 10-year journey), I felt as if I'd made a jigsaw puzzle of my life and the things that happened to me made sense in ways they never had. Although there is no structure or foundation in writing this novel, the metaphor of the jigsaw puzzle is similar. Being someone who is extremely organized, I have to get comfortable with no structure and trust the process. It feels utterly chaotic.

There has been spiritual guidance about this work. One of the messages is that I hand-write, rather than write on the computer. Mark David suggested that at the end of the day, I type anything handwritten into the computer so that I can "organize" the bits and pieces as they come. The computer would make the work more accessible than handwritten pages. That gives me a "structure" I feel a bit more comfortable with.
Trust the process....trust the process...trust the process....my new mantra.

Blessings,
Karen

12 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I hand write as well, Karen. Otherwise I am inhibited.
Keep working on the fiction. It will come.

Sharon Lippincott said...

I switch back and forth. I have fifty years of keyboard experience, and have several years of sitting with fingers on keys. The feel of a keyboard activates my Write Brain, BUT, sometimes when I feel stuck I have to feel paper under my hand, and sometimes free writing opens new doors. I journal by hand. Yes, it IS different. I also use the jigsaw puzzle metaphor. And making a crazy quilt. "My Patchwork Life."

Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like helpful advice. I've always written out my articles. I'm trying to use the computer more these days.

Cyndi said...

This is interesting. I can't handwrite because my pen can't keep up with my thoughts. I get frustrated because I forget things I was thinking while still writing out the last thought. I type much faster and then can just go back and edit what I don't like or need. Good luck with your mantra and novel writing!

Joanne said...

For each of my writing projects, I buy a journal for note taking, thoughts, character development, ideas. It keeps all those puzzle pieces in one place, and often from that journal, I'll build an outline of some sort. The outline is similar to putting all those puzzle edge pieces together first before filling in the middle.

Stephanie Faris said...

Wow, good advice. I write longhand a lot, just when I'm trying to feel like I'm not working. I don't always type it up right away but you're right, that would organize me better.

Tamika: said...

When I'm sketching the novel I hand write. It helps for me to have pages of notes.

Trust the process friend!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Karen, a friend of mine used the Artist's Way method of three handwritten "morning pages" before he went to work each day. When he got home from work he typed them up and did minor editing as he typed. He has two published mysteries so far...

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think it's a good idea to transcribe at the end of the day...that's what I do, too, for any paper bits I use.

Books get thrown together all kinds of crazy ways, but we can revise it later!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Linda said...

Interesting that you're handwriting this time....I'm working through the third draft of my memoir which I've done entirely on the computer. This time, chapter by chapter, I'm handwriting and I'm finding whole new creative side emerging. Keep at it, Karen.....

Marvin D Wilson said...

I like that jigsaw puzzle analogy. Like you, as you know, I had to transition from non-fiction (mewmoir) which was relatively easy to organize and write, to the tremendously challenging world of writing a believable and worthy novel. It is an entirely different thing, for sure. And yes, trust the process - it will eventually make sense, coalesce, and flow.

The Old Silly

Maribeth said...

I totally understand that pen and mind don't always move with the same speed. A lot of the time I use a digital recorder and transcribe at day's end.

Whatever your process you have to just trust it.