connections and disconnections


I can scarcely believe that I was capable of writing 50,000 words in one month, let alone at all, for NaNoWriMo. It requires an almost Machiavellian determination that I previously did not know I had. Along the way, I have learned that there is definitely a difference between the "process" of writing -- the showing up every day, no matter your mood or the weather -- and the "product" of writing -- a blog, article, novel, play, screenplay etc.

So much emphasis is always placed on the product that many creative folks feel there is something wrong when they are not churning out literary gems every second they sit down to pen and paper (or laptop). Boy did film school totally mess with me in that regard. From my recollection, it was all about getting something onscreen, and very little about the convoluted process of arriving there, which is 95% the battle. Granted, I only did a year, but I don't think I learned anything tangible about the process of writing and telling a story that I couldn't have found out on my own.

One of my Hedgebrook sisters hipped me to a theory, proposed by Claudia Johnson, that the rising and falling action theory of dramatic writing is entirely phallocentric. Johnson suggests, from a more feminine perspective, that narrative storytelling is really a series of connections, disconnections, and reconnections. After going through my story outline, I found that this was a better way of describing what was happening organically in my writing than anything I read in Aristotle's Poetics.

Maybe this whole focus on the end goal is phallocentric too.

I find that every day I am negotiating either a connection or disconnection to my writing, and so this "novel" product becomes a vaguer goal than the immediate one of managing my own interest in the subject matter, authenticity in the storytelling, and personal commitment to finishing. Just some food for thought.

And for any folks looking to churn out more product, NaNoWriMo posted a handful of other competitions from poetry to screenplay writing on their site (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

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