Last weekwe were richly joined on The Mastermind Path: Following Your Muse and Finding Your Audience by author Joy Jordan-Lake. It was a great visit!
I loved most our discussion which really began with talking about capturing place, setting, and location of the story. All of this led to pondering the question - to research or to write? When is researching just a way to delay the process of actually writing the story? When can you simply add a small detail with a note (mentally or otherwise) that place-marks that spot and keeps you on the path of writing the story?
Writers have a lot of obstacles to overcome on a regular basis including demands or needs of family or other occupations but the greatest obstacles we have to work against are those that so easily lead us astray. What might those be?
The great commandment for writers might began -
Thou shalt not surf the internet while calling in research in the writing process.
I loved where the group went with this. Part confessional, part self-realization while laughing. Yes, that little spark of - I wonder what flowers might be blooming in the Spring of 1805 in Atlanta, Ga to the three hour rabbit trail you just took that ended with you ordering new knock-out roses for your garden. We resurrected the old-fashioned idea of going to a library or City Hall to the records department for research. Some feet on the floor and out the door research time that feels like honest to goodness research - not cheating on a test. Research can be all consuming and a wonderful thing. There are writers that thankfully spend years on research before writing their works but does your tiny little curiosity about that fashion women wore in 1938 really justified your four hour google search?
Writers possess a wonderful curiosity. It's one of the qualities that makes a great writer whether that's over ancient artifacts or the emotions of the human heart but that can also be like a sugared up kid in a candy store. Distracting and ultimately potentially destructive.
When it's time to actually dig into the story consider setting a timer, logging yourself off the internet, and enjoying the pure, pleasure of doing what you do best - creating the story. Yes, there are all kinds of apps you can buy now and programs you can launch that will kick you off for x matter of minutes but your own self-discipline following the love of your characters and creations might just be the higher path to follow and one that serves you better in the long run.
(Signed copies of award-winning author, Joy Jordan-Lake's most recent novel, A Tangled Mercy may be bought and ordered at Parnassus Books, the local Indie store in Nashville.)
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