By Piper Bayard
Everything I know about writing I learned from belly dancing. Yes, belly dancing.
How can this be? Art is Creativity, channeled into a three-dimensional form. It is the same basic process regardless of the medium, so the act of becoming proficient in any art is the same: discipline, practice, and dancing.
Dancing? Yes, dancing.
The question writers ask me most often is, “How do you deal with writer’s block?”
I tell them that dancing—writing—is the elimination of thought between the music and the motion. Like I tell my dancing students, when you get stuck, don’t push. It won’t work. Take a deep breath, and relax your way through it.
With writing, that means turn off the left brain and allow your muse to take over—allow your right brain to dance. Stories do not come from us; stories move through us. We are not the source of Creativity, but through discipline, practice, and subjugating the ego to the higher purpose, we can become effective conduits for Creativity.
So how do we unblock our conduit?
[No. Fiber is not the answer.]
Getting stuck in our process is all about the left brain—structure, plotting, and editing.
Control. Control is a good thing. It is the material our conduits are made of.
Discipline, practice, and understanding of our craft all contribute to building healthy channels for the flow of Creativity so that it doesn’t simply flood and dissipate with no constructive product to show for it. However, getting caught up in control can narrow that channel to the point that Creativity, like water, will go find an easier path.
When our inner control freaks get out of control worrying about what should come next, what should these characters be saying, what could make this scene bigger and better, we narrow our conduits.
The left brain is all about the piping, not what flows through it. The right brain is all about the flow. The right brain is Creativity’s studio, so when Creativity begins to dry up, it’s a sign we need to get the left brain to back off.
There is actually something simple we can do to achieve this . . . sleep.
When we sleep, our left brain checks out, and our right brain heads for the studio. That’s why so many of us wake up in the middle of the night with our best ideas. When we sleep, Creativity dances.
As you’re drifting off at night or for a nap, ask your brain a question. When you wake, before Creativity notices you’re watching her pirouette, pull out a piece of paper. Unlined paper is best, because lines are all about form and structure. Lines are left brain, and you don’t want the left brain clapping off beat with Creativity’s music.
Get out your unlined paper, get cozy with your favorite pen, and let Creativity dance.
Don’t tell her that she’s doing the wrong steps. Don’t tell her she has on the wrong shoes. And especially, don’t tell her she isn’t good enough to try those moves . . .
Don’t let your thought come between Creativity’s music and the dance she leads through your writing hand. Let her do anything she wants on that page, and trust that she will answer your question while she’s there.
We are not the source of Creativity; we are only her instrument. The three-dimensional tool that allows Creativity expression in this plane of existence. Build her a studio with discipline and structure, then get out of her way and let her dance.
Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you combat it? Do you dance?
Piper Bayard is a recovering attorney, a full-time author, and the managing editor of Social In Worldwide, Inc., a news and events network. Her debut dystopian thriller, FIRELANDS, is available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle and in e-book at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.
She is currently working with a “senior mouseketeer” in the intelligence community on the APEX PREDATOR series of spy thrillers. Her web site is BayardandHolmes.com. She would love to hear from you on Facebook at “Piper Bayard” or on Twitter at @PiperBayard.