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For anyone that follows this blog, I have moved to www.lareegriffith.com not sure how to redirect this site to that
site so hope you find me!

Premature editing can stop a seed of vision or project before it even begins.

There are times when your creative voice may feel overwhelmed by another voice, and if you’re anything like me, possibly several voices. Lets call them “Inner Editors.”

There are three in particular that I feel are important to recognize when you are creating:

1. The Stop-Before-You-Start Editor
2. The Obsessed Editor
3. The Real Editor

The Stop-Before-You-Start Editor

This Editor loves the younger generation and those who feel like everything worth doing has already been done. They say, “Who wants to look at my ideas when there are so many good ones out there already?”

This Editor starts yapping at your first thought of a great idea, telling you all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t continue to build on that idea, and before you know it, the idea is dead, never making it out of your head and into reality. It simply never had a chance.

A few thoughts about getting past the Stop-Before-You-Start Editor:

When you have an idea or project you want to create, you must first extract the tonal quality of that idea by allowing it to flow out onto paper or some other physical medium; do this right away, before this Editor snips it out of your creative conscious by convincing you that your idea is too small, too grand, too raw to be conceived.

Ideas may appear as feelings, colors, themes, smells, characters, words, a look, or a landscape; they do not necessarily have a story attached to them right away, nor do they need to in order to become the beginning of something.

Some examples of how it looks to be free from this inner Editor:

The filmmaker talking a hundred miles and hour about something so magnificent you cannot possibly comprehend, but it’s there in those little stick people and arrows she is so passionately putting on her cocktail napkin.

The sculptor looking lovingly and with a blush of excitement at a lump of ugly gray clay that he has pulled and stretched into some sort of strange raw amoeba pose.

Here is one we can all relate to; and if you cannot relate, consider trying it:

The one-year-old sitting in her high chair with a devilish grin, one hand full of spaghetti. Instead of putting it in her mouth, she throws it against the wall just to see what happens, and with unrestrained delight she watches it stick to the wall before it begins dangling and crawling down on its own.

These ideas begged to come to life, and so they did: on cocktail napkins and grandma’s wall!

Why deny yourself that moment, even if never gets past that initial excitement?

The Obsessed Editor

This little guy with a magnifying glass and dictionary at his side obsesses over a very small portion of an idea or project before it has a foundation, form, or presence of its own.

Think about this:

A filmmaker would not start filming or developing the stick people on the napkin before he had a story outline or script to work off of (well, maybe if you were Terry Gilliam).

The sculptor would not try to create a perfect arm to go on a body he had not yet formed.

An architect would not spend all his time on the details of one window before coming up with an overall vision and purpose for his building.

A chef would not agonize over the spices he will use before deciding on the menu.

Some thoughts and ideas to help shoo away the little bug-eyed Obsessive Editor:

Develop an outline, and if that’s not your style, let yourself complete a first draft. Look toward the next horizon. The point is to use the clarity and truth of your overall vision to engage with what you are creating.

If you’re a writer, let yourself write whatever comes, even if you know that some of the words are wrong. If you’re a visual artist, try different colors, wrong colors, right colors; a musician? allow all sounds, no sound, and even annoying sound. And if you’re writing a screenplay, let your settings make sense or no sense at all.

There is no right or wrong in a first draft or first form of vision. When you come up with wonderful details, put them in loosely, but don’t obsess over making them work just yet.

I am not saying to purposely create crappy prose or poetry, only to allow the ideas to flow without trying to turn crappy into beautiful, for out of these moments of freedom may come brilliance and the perfect set of elements to build from.

You will still have detailed ideas, thoughts, and visions; in fact, you will have many more as you move forward without the Obsessive Editor trying to control the details.

The Real Editor

When your idea has a heartbeat of its own, when it breathes and stands on its own and you can see it walking toward you without your assistance, then YOU get to be the Editor, the REAL editor.

This is my favorite place to hang out—where time ceases to exist.

We sand, polish, highlight, shadow, sprinkle hues; find the perfect word, nuance, spice, music, setting, ambiance, color and flow. We get to revel in the spectacular last few touches put here and there.

It is like being in heaven when you get to this point.

And finally here is one more who is nothing like the Editors and is better expressed as a Special Blessing upon your creation:

Before you give your work to the rest of the world, consider sharing it with a mentor, someone who knows your voice and medium of art, someone you trust, someone to help you snip off the threads that hang from this living, breathing masterpiece and give it that final push past the ordinary into the extraordinary.

PS
Making of a Masterpiece

Requires (quicktime) to play.

Happy Creating!
Laree’

Autumn’s Italy

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Writer’s Block is BS

The past couple of years I have really embraced some awesome ideas about how I want to live the rest my life.

I took these ideas and blended them with one of my passions, writing.

If you Google writer’s block, you will find literally hundreds and thousands of written articles, products, books, therapy groups, toys, forums, and workshops—and a lot of them are super fun!

The only problem I have with the majority of them is that if you look closely, you’ll see that they are cast from a perspective that you are a victim of Writer’s Block, as if it were a disease or inevitable condition that strikes writers and the creative process in general. It seems to be a great cash crop much like all the dieting and get skinny quick traps out there.

Here is my new definition of Writer’s Block:

A waste of time, a fictitious condition that one chooses to wallow in rather than engage with their craft on a higher level.

My own Cooked up experience of Writers Block

At the age of thirteen I realized how much I loved to write and I automatically accepted that this passion for writing would at some point cause me to be stricken with this highly talked about condition amongst writers.

Every writer gets it because it’s a for-sure-thing—and an honor, right?

My first Writer’s block was a lot like my first menstrual period, validating that I was no longer a child but a real woman. Not only was I now a real woman but also a real woman writer with real writer’s block and real PMS!

In my limited, puberty tight mind, this meant I was going through some sort of incredible transformation.

Surely I would come out the other side walking on flower petals just like Aphrodite, and with the uncanny ability to write worldly amazing stuff that would wow my many handsome male suitors, who would surround me in awe as I reclined on a purple velvet chaise with black satin pillows and a tall Siamese cat named Cleo, who would forever guard my writing quarters, gently purring and batting his eyes at me in approval.

Big flowery Purr . . .

Well the Goddess status quickly wore off and it became normal for these not so sure thoughts to play over and over in my head about how bad I suck because writer’s block and PMS have complete control over my life. My mentality and internal conversation for the next 28 years went like this:

Wow, I just wrote a great essay, I love writing!

Now I just have to sit around and wait for the next inspiration to hit; then I can spend another 4 to 10 hours of phenomenal writing.

I can’t wait!

Hopefully the urge will not hit me when I have PMS or I will really be screwed!

I wonder when it will happen, two years, three years, maybe ten?

What if the block is removed and the muse doesn’t show up?

What the hell is a muse anyway?

That’s Ok—I will wait. All this stuff will be revealed in time.

Writer’s block does not last forever and the very best of us get it.

This is exactly how I thought it worked, and most writers would nod in agreement if I brought up writer’s block in conversation, which made it even more acceptable and spot on.

I was resigned to being a victim of the no longer glamorous disease.

Its presence now had the weight and attributes of Lord Voldemort.

lord_voldemort

Writers Block is it REAL ?


Real life writer example and why I say writer’s block does not really exist
.

The following is from an interview with Keith Davidson, an award winning screenwriter who recently won first place in the Disney/ABC writing competition:

Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?

Keith: I am just too lazy to write every day. But when I’m in the middle of a script I’m enthused about, I’ll often put in 5-9 hours a day.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with that?

Keith: Never had writer’s block. If I’m temporarily stuck on a scene, I’ll jump to another scene—or do some research—work on another script—or watch a movie—then get back to it later.

Keith Davidson doesn’t get writer’s block and even refers to himself as lazy! I think this is amazing.

Here is the truth whether you believe it or not:

Writing is a choice. It is not about sitting around stringing pretty words together.

For your writing to be authentic and have the ability to connect with your readers, you must participate and engage in the environment outside of the physical space you may call the Author’s Corner—you know, that space with all the piles of notes and books on prompts and props and protagonists.

When you sit down to write, you are articulating the experience of that engagement.

Notice that when Keith Davidson was stuck on a scene, he didn’t call it writer’s block; he used that call to participate in writing, engaging his other senses: visual, listening, doing, tasting—it is all writing.

Another real writer example:

I have a friend who writes for a local periodical entertainment magazine. This man writes a lot, and he writes very well.

I have never asked him if he ever had a case of writer’s block, but I can pretty much guarantee you that he would say the same thing Keith said.

When my friend is not writing, he is observing, watching, participating, taking pictures, creating, and being very involved with his life.

I asked him once how he does it all, and he replied :

“It beats the alternative”

One more example of one of my favorite real writers

This young woman is the perfect example of writing in real time. Not only is she writing but she is snapping pictures from the passenger seat of a little Honda zipping through Texas at 100 miles an hour.

Just try and beat that for productivity and fun! Much more effective than staring at a blank document for hours and days.

Great writing comes from flexing the majority of your writing muscles by participating in life so that you can inspire your readers on a potent experiential level.

How can you thrill someone if you have never been thrilled yourself?

Choices

You can choose to sit in your head listening to your own BS about how you have writer’s block and resolve to wait it out—days, months, years, decades.

Or you can be in action experiencing, gathering material, feeling excitement, observing reactions, living your life, and soaking up all the content life has to offer so you can do what you love—write and share it with the rest of us.

ZSiameseBlueGem

Savvy?

Dinner and a Poem


Dinner and a Poem
 

 
Musica swirls around in delight
 
Glass vessels whisper and tink through the night
 
Lights of amber waltz on wood surfaces
 
A sprinkling of pepper…wrinkles a nose

A Dusting of Basil makes a sweet tomato glow
 
Mushrooms bubble… with treasures and cheese
Oils flowing free with sensuous greed…ahhh
 
Spicy sausage kisses kale and crème while
Onion and bacon sword fight with garlic the
Parmesan tumbles on a bed of green
 
A cook winks through mounds of angelic steam 
 
Black tea and Espresso plump the air
Lemon and coconut have an affair
 

Today I am just hanging out in my hotel room, not really in a sightseeing mood, and I’m feeling a little like one of those crazy writer hermit types.

My friend noticed me on line at 6:45 this morning, so she called me. What I admire about my friend is that she puts herself out there without a lot of reservation. She was talking to me about an experience she had, and she kept saying “I can’t believe I did that” and “I can’t believe I said that.” But she just keeps doing and saying anyway. I love that about her.

I am finding that when we can be totally honest about what we’re experiencing, feeling, and being in life, the right things show up, be it a friend, a movie, a place, a book, music, a piece of art.

The key is that we really have to be present for whatever is showing up and not just for the happy “ I feel so wonderful moments.” We have to be there for all of it, even the “I am not feeling so hot or good about myself” moments.

I want to share an example of what I mean by this:

The other night I wanted Italian food, so I got on line and looked up local ratings for Italian restaurants and found one in Torrance that had some pretty good reviews. I love sites like this that give us a fighting chance before we spend our money.

I thought, well, I’ll just call them and see if I can order something to go (in Italy they call it take away.) Then I thought that one of the greatest things about going to a well-reviewed Italian restaurant is the ambiance. I was not going to be able to experience that if I get “take away” food.

I have noticed while traveling on my own that it does not draw a lot of attention when I dine alone at lunch; no one seems to consider it strange or weird. But when I dine alone at dinner in a romantic setting—or any setting for that matter—I get all kinds of interesting looks. I don’t know what makes it so alarming to people.

In fact I almost did not go out that night for dinner because I was thinking that it’s not acceptable for a woman to dine in public alone during the evening. Then I asked myself “Where the f*@ck did that come from?” Did I really believe there would be cops coming after me or I would be stoned to death if I chose to eat dinner alone at a restaurant? Am I going to be a bad influence on society for eating alone in public?

That is so silly, but it was exactly what was going on in my head, and I almost did not even question it.

I punched the address into my GPS and easily found my way there. (The GPS is my new HERO! I have never had one before this trip and am definitely worshiping it.) I have been here over two weeks and had it not been for this electronic jewel that my awesome boss bought for me, I would still be trying to find my way to work and back to the hotel instead of having time to write and see some of the sights.

The restaurant was in a corner of a busy shopping complex. It had a cute little courtyard surrounded with funny looking bushes strung with white lights, cheap outdoor patio furniture with wobbling tables, and a water fountain mounted on the wall. No one was sitting outside—it could have had something to do with the heavy layer of smog that was starting to settle on the city—but the smog didn’t offend me and it was very warm out, so I asked if I could sit in the courtyard.

I chose the table right in front of the fountain and listened to it intently, while observing through the bushes the busy parking lot activity, and the strange mixture of sirens and car alarms. The voice of Frank Sinatra piped confidently through the restaurant and into the courtyard.

This little restaurant in a busy suburb of L.A. was trying its hardest to be romantic in a concrete jungle.I wanted to call it the Little Restaurant That Could! I felt a sense of connection with its status as I, too, was trying my hardest to be romantic by dining in an Italian restaurant alone in a big city, despite the age-old voice of our society yelling into my ear, “Not possible!”

An absolutely gorgeous waiter served me; he had a beautiful, authentic smile and presence. I sat sipping a glass of wine and shooing fruit flies as the sky became darker and the white lights on the little bushes became more magnificent, turning the little Italian courtyard wannabe into something beautiful.

What was interesting is that this courtyard had many of the elements I had written a few weeks earlier in a screenplay that I have been working on: one of the scenes takes place in a courtyard of an Italian restaurant:

Guests move out to the courtyard; a beautiful fountain flows; vines climb white pillars that surround the perimeter of the courtyard. Lattice-topped arbors with small white lights hover over each table. A five-man band plays Sinatra tunes.

Of course many Italian restaurants have this particular ambiance, so maybe it was not that profound an observation, but the parallel fascinated me in that moment.

As people walked up to the entrance, they did not notice me in the corner of the courtyard by the fountain. In fact, not one person turned to look at the little patio, which amazed me because the patio was the first thing that grabbed my attention.

However, when people walked out they would stop and stare at me sitting in the empty courtyard as if I were a rare exotic animal in a cage. They would turn and look at me two or three times. An older lady literally raised her eyebrows as she poked their husband’s arm and pointed me out.

I continued to sit there surrounded by the little white lights and the sound of the fountain, listening to Sinatra, sipping my wine, and feeling a little smug and dreamy about my ability to conquer the women-cannot-eat-dinner-out-alone syndrome. Or I may just have been high on the evening smog. I felt romance right there in my own presence, happy and serene while dining alone outside in the middle of a smoggy city, and I didn’t need anyone’s validation, not even my own. The moment just was, and I was in the moment.

Every once in awhile the handsome waiter would come out like a proud gatekeeper tending to the wild exotic animal in the courtyard. OK, I am not exactly exotic, but this is my story. He would sit on the table next to me and just chat, as if taking a break from the formal dining room inside. I was having fun being a spectacle of society.

Why not let ourselves experience things even if the circumstances are not exactly what we expect or perceive that they should be? It is when we put expectations on how things or people should show up in our lives that we experience disappointment. Why not meet things more often exactly for what they are?

Maybe we will find a little magic.