Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Breaking Barriers

two scarves from latest painted warp - done - well, woven, anyway....

Human beings really like to be in their comfort zone. They really don't like being uncomfortable. Not much surprise, really, as if you are feeling uncomfortable it probably means that you are experiencing a certain level of 'danger'. And we all know that survival of the species depended very much on avoiding danger!

But as a creative person, it is necessary for us to sometimes leave our comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

For example, learning something new is uncomfortable, especially for adults who wrongly suppose they are supposed to know everything already. :}

One of my mentors always said that if we aren't making 'mistakes' we aren't learning anything. The challenge being, of course, to understand that a 'mistake' in weaving is not terminal. Nobody is going to die because a warp didn't act nicely in the loom, the weft wasn't quite the right colour, the drape of the cloth wasn't as luscious as envisioned.

The last couple of days I've had a chance to visit with some friends and I confided that I was having a really hard time breaking through the barrier of getting words down on paper for The Project. As we talked about it I remembered that I started Magic in the Water about 6 times before it gelled. As soon as I realized that it didn't matter what I wrote, just that I wrote something - anything! - with no thought that those first few words would be writ in stone, suddenly the opening of The Project fell into place.

This morning I opened a Word file (Word was open anyway for another job), wrote down the title, the introductory quote that I knew was going to open The Project and wrote the first sentence.

19 whole words. Wow! Count 'em. 19 of them!
But they are down, and they feel right. And I know that now I can slip through that barrier and begin.


Marie said...

Great! That's a start! And an inspiration for me to also start a project I have been putting off

Tien Chiu said...

Here's a next book for you to read: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. She writes about the writing process in an evocative, brilliant, and very funny way.

And while you're at it, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is pretty darn good too!

Laura said...

Thanks for the book recommendations. So many books - sooooo little time! ;)


DebbieB said...

I'm so glad, Laura - I'm eager to read this new book of yours!

Sharon Schulze said...

Annie Dillard - there's a name I haven't thought about in awhile. I *love* Annie Dillard's writing!

When I was writing a very big project with a deadline once I would just get stuck with a capital STUCK. I found that if I could keep my fingers writing (typing) I would get unstuck the fastest. So I had a "cue" word - something that would never EVER appear in the final document - and when I got big STUCK I would type that cue word and then just blab stream of consciousness whether it was about the tv program I saw the night before, my frustration with a colleague, or, well, sometimes just a string of expletives that expressed my frustrations. That would usually break the blockage so I could take a little break. I'd type the cue word again, type a few words or sentences and go take the break. The cue word let me easily find the stream of consciousness stuff so I could remove it earlier - I always used the same cue word so I didn't have to think hard about that part.

Writing is surely a weird thing, isn't it? I once read that writers are just people who have a much harder time than anyone else getting words on a page. hee hee

Laura said...

I have to put the brakes on picking up more books since I'm away for 3 weeks in January. :(

Fortunately I have lots of paperbacks to drag along with me, shedding them as I go. I'm a little concerned about the weight of my suitcase since I am bringing my warping board and some other tools I find necessary, plus warps/yarns to weave.... :}

terri said...

Are you familiar with Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird? I know some college writing teachers who like to use excerpts from her book in their classes, particularly the one on (expletive deleted) first drafts. (You can find some of the excerpts on line.)

Sharon Schulze said...

I love Anne Lammott, too! And that's another author I haven't thought about for awhile. It's kind of nifty cool that this blog post has led me to so many authors I haven't visited in awhile. Might be time to check them out again!