Monday, May 27, 2013

Writing as a Process

By Laurie Epps

Happy Memorial Day!

Writing is a process. Often as writers, we are the keepers of details. Without all the elements, we'll never have a finished work. This week in Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg talks about cultivating our ideas, and fine tuning our details to resonate with our readers. Show the readers we know our stuff instead of just telling them.

As a woman, I related with the obsessions, and the baking analogies. So don't just read the column, try the techniques. They work, and don't forget to share your experience with all of us. Join the conversation.

pp. 42-44

What do you obsess about? Often as writers our obsessions drift into our writing. We can't help it, and it comes naturally for us.

Goldberg uses the analogy of her family. Growing up Jewish, she was especially attached to her mother. Goldberg fears coming off as a "mama's girl".

Goldberg also talks about the alcoholic at a party. An alcoholic can tell you exactly ho much is behind the bar, and how much they'e had to drink. She parallels this analogy with chocolate. Boy, can I relate to that analogy as a mom of three girls! On a personal note, I obsess about anything that has some caffeine in it.

Has an obsession creeped into your writing? Tell us about it below.

Original Detail
pp. 45-46

Reflection: This essay makes me think of Art History class. We last talked about Impressionism. You can hardly learn about Impressionism without talking about Claude Monet. Monet has a quote, and it goes something like this, "Look at what you're painting and how it first captures you, paint it as it is, not as you would like it to be." (Very loose paraphrasing here) Goldberg talks about writing the same wasy. Write how it first impresses you, and not as you would like it to be. Writing in this way brings truth to your writing.

When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever... merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you your own naive impression of the scene before you." ~ Claude Monet

The Power of Detail
pp. 47-49

As the title suggests, this essay talks about details. However, I feel the title promises more than it delivers.It tells us about Goldberg sitting in an orange booth with her friend while trying to write while talking. Goldberg uses some examples with details, she tells us that they are important without telling us why they are important.

"We have lived; our moments are important. This is what it is to be a writer: to be the carrier of the moments that make up history."

Baking a Cake
pp. 50-52

This essay talks about writing as a process. When you make a cake, you first make batter. Batter consists of flour, eggs, oil, butter, and sugar. Without the presence of heat, it is just batter. However the opposite is also true. If you have heat and no batter, you still won't have cake. To have cake, both elements must be present.

When we are writing the heat is what we are trying to say, or the formal structure of our writing. The warmth is cozy, and it feels good, but there's no real substance to your writing. The batter is the details. The details are what makes the cake so delicious. This is true of writing too.

Have you ever tried to deliver something that is half-baked at best and get it past your editor? They have also done this. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with life or work, but real writing is in the process. Tell us more about it below, and join the conversation.

Join us next week to discuss pages 53-59 of the text.

Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. To read more of Laurie's stories come back here for her column about Poetry on Thursdays, or follow her Tuesday column dedicated to writing on:

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