Some say you can’t force writing. I disagree. I think you can force anything. It is called tenacity.
Many people use this word to describe my style. It is true that I latch on to things/people/situations and no matter how demanding or unrestrained they get, I do not let go, ever. This serves my writing career well, but my motherly instinct has taken quite a beating. But with my tenacity comes some really creative solutions to impossible problems and that has served my story telling well. If you are constantly stepping outside your comfort zone, you tend to find more stories (or they find you).
I do love having an empty nest after raising 8 kids, until I am left to my own devices when dressing for a formal occasion. No matter who you are, dressing formally requires assistance. I like to picture my handmaidens lacing my boots and trussing my hair. But customarily it is one of my girls checking the putty depth applied to my face and my husband hitching my zipper.
On Sunday one of my foster kids was going to be married and I am overjoyed at how perfectly her life has turned out and adore her betrothed. All the girls were in the wedding party so I was left alone to apply my mask. My husband was called out of town to the land where the orange groves roam to visit his parents, so I was unaccompanied to dress and draft my makeup. This proved an impossible task. Unable to zip up my dress no matter who many yoga moves I attempted, I left the house three quartered clothed. I drove to Ross and went in to the front counter and asked the clerk to finish zipping my dress. She was kind enough to oblige and then even pointed out a crease in my rouge.
Upon leaving the store, a bee came at me with a full frontal attack to my eye, thus springing my tear ducts to full waterfall mêlée. This washed the right side of my face clean of war paint and made my eye look like Quasimoto. I figured I would just leave it be until after the ceremony because the likelihood of crying my entire face off wasn’t just a possibility but an inevitability. I have been known to sob like an infant during choir recitals to debate competitions when it is my kids on the center stage.
The wedding was beautiful, I cried like a wailing widow. After the ceremony, I went to reapply my façade so I would not have to stand in the back row for pictures, I discovered there were no bathrooms with mirrors and I had no mirror in my purse. There were sani-huts, but no powder room to speak of as the wedding was hosted at a rustic barn. This bride was one of my triumphs and I was determined to have a picture of her and I on our wall of trophy’s at home. I was resolute. I did what any sane person would do and asked a stranger (from the grooms side) to apply my makeup behind the barn.
I should have looked at her maquillage skills before I handed her my greasepaint. She did me up like Mimmi.
When called for pictures, this was the first time my girls noticed my face. Too kind to say anything to me for fear I had accomplished this feat by myself, they simply sent me to the back row and gave me a stiff drink. I got my picture and we will giggle about it for years.
Another boundless writing teacher (though sometimes X-rated) explains this trait in his own unique way. Introducing Chuck Wendig:
“You can’t force art.”
Google that phrase, you’ll get over 20,000 hits.
Many of them seem to agree with the notion that, indeed, you can’t force art.
Can’t do it. Can’t force art, creativity, innovation, and invention.
To which I say a strongly-worded:
HORSESHIT IN A 7-11 64 OUNCE THIRST ABORTER SODA CUP.
I’ll posit that not only can you force art, but you in fact must force art.
Because art is not a magical power. Art is a result. It is a consequence of our actions, and the very nature of an action is that it is something we forced ourselves to do.
Read the rest of his rant/advice here:
Write a story in the first person where you inordinately stepped out of your comfort zone to accomplish something. 500 words at least.