Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: What Should I Write

Still More Conversation About “What Should I Write?” . . .


This Blog Conversation began on June 13th; and, continued on June 18th and June 20th… What should I write

If you check out those posts, you’ll see us moving from the Muse through Meditation into Spontaneous Ideas

And, the post on the 20th had four links to other folks’ considerations of “What Should I Write?”.

Our discussion is continuing today because a writer from the U.K. left this comment on the last post in the series:

“I don’t believe in a muse. All my writing is triggered by a place, an incident, an injustice, a person , a memory or a feeling. I’d need a cartload of different muses for all that!”

That comment is quite similar to one of the other comments in our conversation:

“My best ideas don’t come when I sit down to write, rather at spontaneous and sometimes inopportune moments. Hence, I have a notebook in every room, my car, and my purse. :-) “

I don’t know if the Muse delivers the ideas in that last comment; or, if there’s a well-hidden Muse involved in the process of the U.K. writer…

When I access the etymology of Muse, I find these indicators about the word’s history of meaning:

…from Old French Muse and directly from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa, “the Muse,” also “music, song,” from PIE root *men- (1) “to think“.

And, when I go back to the post that began this conversation, I find this quote:

“‘A muse?’ you ask. ‘You mean some kind of invisible spirit that dumps creative inspiration into my mind?’

“’Exactly,’ I answer. ‘A genius. A daimon. An independent force in your psyche that directs your creativity, and to which you deliberately hand over ultimate responsibility for your work.’”

My dictionary says “genius” can mean “the prevailing character or spirit of something” and that “daimon” means “an inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force”…

Naturally, every writer must define the source of their inspirations to write in the way that best helps them obtain those inspirations…

Yet, personally, I’d recommend writers inventory their minds on a somewhat regular basis, even the levels of mind they rarely think about; and, possibly, consider areas of cognition they’ve never consciously explored—all in the effort to maximize the odds that they’ll receive the Very Best Ideas of What to Write

That last paragraph calls on writers to engage in what could be called Meta-Activities—activities that call on the mind’s ability to “turn itself inside-out” or “create variations of itself” or “look at itself in its own mirror”…

Here’s a quote from a learning site:

“Metacognition, or thinking about one’s thinking, is key to facilitating lasting learning experiences and developing lifelong learners.”

I shared that quote because it seems, to me, very important for writers to be continually learning; or, their idea-pool may dry up… { and, to me, reading good fiction is also a learning experience… }

And, considering metacognition as an educational tool, there’s this quote from a different learning site:

“Metacognition is an awareness of one’s own learning. It entails understanding the goals of the learning process, figuring out the best strategies for learning, and assessing whether the learning goals are being met. A metacognitive student sees him or herself as an agent in the learning process and realizes that learning is an active, strategic activity.”

And, another quote from that site:

Metacognition can include any of the following elements:
* Understanding what one already knows about a topic
* Figuring out what one wants to know about a topic
* Realizing what one has learned in the course of a lesson
* Monitoring one’s understanding during the course of an activity
* Choosing which learning strategies to employ and when
* Evaluating whether a particular learning strategy was successful in a given circumstance

And, if I only focus on the last element in that quote and consider the words “learning strategy“, I must admit that it evokes what I’ve gone through in all my writing projects; plus, every writing project has demanded a somewhat different learning strategy…

Here’s a question that may, hopefully, spur a reader to contribute a comment to this conversation:

Are learning strategies and metacognition and spontaneous ideas and meditation and communing with a Muse all part of the fabric of the landscape of our writing journeys…?

It only takes one comment to continue this discussion; or, to suggest another topic in the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing. :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message
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Continuing the Blog Conversation About “What Should I Write?” . . .


 Prologue to this Post:

It’s Official… Our Blog Conversations are now on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays! Leaving the rest of the week for valuable re-blogs from other folks and, from time to time, extra special surprise posts :-)

The Muse O.K., on with the discussion…

Last Wednesday, we began, a Blog Conversation Concerning “What Should I Write?” . . .

You may want to check that post out first to ponder what was said about having a Muse

I will, however, bring over a few questions I asked that could be easily answered in many if not most cases by integrating a Muse into the WritingLife:

Is it conceivable to you that writers “should” write certain things?

That a particular sentence “should” follow that one you just wrote?

That a precise gem of a word “must” precede a particularly important other word…?

Those questions may seem to be situations where the writer’s rational mind needs to be applied in the revision phases; yet, if the function of the Muse is active, they may be surprisingly dealt with right in the first draft…

Now…

Here’s the rather surprising comment from last Wednesday that permitted this particular conversation to continue—surprising because it comes from a consummate writer:

“Sometimes a concept can be right under your nose and yet you do not fully appreciate it until you see it explained in more eloquent detail, which this post just did for me. I know about the ‘Muse’ that many writers or painters refer to—I confess I just took her (or him) for granted—a metaphor perhaps for the writer’s inspiration but suddenly when I read this: ‘Offloading your sense of responsibility for creative work onto another self is like flipping a switch. It instantly removes that pressure and lets you breathe again…’; and, a switch flipped for me internally. Why had I not used a Muse for this? Where was my Muse and why wasn’t she doing this for me? Perhaps because I’d locked her in a cupboard a long time ago to keep the room tidy? Please forgive me Muse. I have the key and I will let you out. And I’m very much looking forward to watching Elizabeth Gilbert talking about this concept :-)

Naturally, there are other methods for deciding “What Should I Write?”, whether that question applies to a complete work or the next scene in a story or the next word in a sentence: and, I do hope a few of you will bring up some of those methods in the comments

But, before we leave this part of our discussion, I’ll share just a bit more about the Muse; and, it comes from Stephen King :-)

“There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.”

O.K….

The ground rules for our conversations here are that at least one reader has to leave a comment (short though it may be ) so the conversation can continue; otherwise, I get to start a whole new discussion :-) { … and, you can always leave a comment about other conversations you’d like to have … }
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

Blog Conversation Concerning “What Should I Write?” . . .


Our last discussion here was on June 6th & June 11th… On Writing

It dealt with Etymologies—word histories—and explored their value for readers and writers…

Since the last part of that conversation didn’t elicit any comments, I’m moving on to a new discussion…

And, just before I do that, I must announce that, after this coming Friday (when I’ll publish the last, and 95th, short Tale in my Story Bazaar Cycle.), these blog conversations will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…

So—“What should I write?”

That plea might be uttered by a well-seasoned writer or someone considering writing for the first time…

If it’s a well-seasoned writer saying, “What should I write?”, it could be a consideration about a new work or the next steps in a current work…

If you happen to be someone considering that question for the first time (or, the hundredth time before you’ve begun your first effort as a writer…), the options are just short of infinite

And, from a certain perspective, the well-seasoned writer may very well face a slightly smaller infinity of choices…

I’ve relied on what’s called a Muse to help me narrow those infinities (which can also occur just before the very next sentence…).

Over on the Lateral Action site, in the article, 5 Reasons Why You Need a Muse, it’s said:

“‘A muse?’ you ask. ‘You mean some kind of invisible spirit that dumps creative inspiration into my mind?’

“’Exactly,’ I answer. ‘A genius. A daimon. An independent force in your psyche that directs your creativity, and to which you deliberately hand over ultimate responsibility for your work.’

“’That’s nuts!’ you exclaim.'”

“All creative block is ultimately identifiable as a manifestation of performance anxiety or performance guilt. Offloading your sense of responsibility for creative work onto another self is like flipping a switch. It instantly removes that pressure and lets you breathe again. It returns you to the state of relaxed receptivity that characterized your earliest efforts, when you were just playing around in a ‘beginner’s mind’ mode. This is when the best stuff happens.”

That article also references a Brilliant TEDtalk about the psychological concept of the Muse by author Elizabeth Gilbert

However, for the sake of conversation ( conversation being the whole purpose of these posts on this blog:-), there could be other ways to become inspired about what “should” be written…

Aha!

Should“…

Seems we might need a word history:

“c. 1200, from Old English sceolde, past tense of sceal (see shall). Preserves the original notion of ‘obligation’ that has all but dropped from shall.”

Somewhere back in my earlier decades of life on this planet, that word “should” was something folks could use in conversation without incurring violent wrath from certain listeners…

Is it conceivable to you that writers “should” write certain things?

That a particular sentence “should” follow that one you just wrote?

That a precise gem of a word “must” precede a particularly important other word…?

I had to include a few questions to, hopefully, provoke a few folks to comment :-)

My particular brand of shoulds for my writing hover around concepts like the one expressed in New Patterns of Community Life in an Urbanizing World:

“Large-scale migration to urban centers has, in many cases, led to social fragmentation, the depletion of limited ecological resources, and profound feelings of isolation and despair.”

But…

Things that large will henceforth be relegated to my ruminations about my second book of poetry…

Which brings me to the image up there at the beginning of this post…

It was created by my Best Friend, author Jane Watson, for what I thought was going to be a new work I’d publish every Saturday over on Wattpad—a “column” of articles on writing…

That lovely image up there was Jane’s creation for the cover of that new effort on Wattapd…

However, I got cornered by my Muse yesterday and was humiliated by her…

Naturally, I deserved it…

How could I keep up blog conversations here (along with the search for the re-blogs I share…) while reading the 21 books I need to explore, as research for that new poetry book; and, the depth of thinking that work will demand—along with my attention to my social media activities (and, to be sure, all the time this writer needs to just sit here and commune with my Muse and other, yet Higher, Entities…)…?

Plus, my Muse drummed into my skull, “Why don’t you encourage folks on Wattpad to come over here and peruse the over 2,200 posts you’ve already written?” (…nicely organized by topic in that handy Top Tags widget, in the left side-bar...)

So, has my exploration of “What Should I Write?” stirred up questions or ideas or feelings?

If only one of you shares a comment, this conversation can continue………
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

What You Want To See On This Blog . . .


I thought it was time to reveal detailed results from the on-going Poll for What You Want To See on this blog.

If you haven’t yet registered your picks, just take this link and let me know what YOU want :-)

What Do You Want Most?

Answer Votes Percent  
Art of Writing 12 26%  
Writing Craft 7 15%  
Writing Tips 6 13%  
Reading Lists 4 9%  
Publishing Information 4 9%  
Publishing News 4 9%  
Other Answers… 4 9%  
Publishing Comparisons 3 6%  
Reading Tips 2 4%  
Reading Aids 1 2%  
Other Answers (your unique ideas)
Votes
Alex Zoltai’s philosophy. 1
videos about creative practice 1
poetry 1
news about other lit blogs similar to yours 1

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