If You Want to Write: Part OnePosted: 3 April 2013
I have been reading a book about writing, called If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland. It has really captured my attention and articulated how I feel about creativity in writing and also improvising. So I will write about it here. I think I will cover it in parts and pull out quotes or chapter headings that speak to me.
Chapter One: Everybody is Talented, Original and Has Something Important to Say
I realised this a while ago and it still bears repeating. It will always bear repeating, the point in creativity is not to create something new or unique, because you have already done that by virtue of existing. You already are new and unique, your viewpoint is impossible to replicate outside your own head.
The more I see improvising as experimenting and learning the ‘better’ it gets and the more fun it gets. When I was trying to be interesting and funny it got laughs but it always felt really hollow. I never felt like I was growing and learning stuff. Now I learn something everytime I do a scene, just by relaxing. Nobody has any right to tell me what my voice is supposed to sound like, I’m finding that out for myself.
“Work freely and rollickingly as though [you] were talking to a friend who loves you” – (Loc 90)
This is another thing I learned that changed how I improvise and made it ‘better’ and more fun. I started playing with people in workshops as if I already knew they were awesome and just supported what they did. They loosen up, I loosen up and we get somewhere.
“[A musician said] one should never play a single note without hearing it, feeling that it is true, thinking it beautiful.” – (Loc 88)
This is a really important one, especially when improvising. The most fun I have seen or had is in rehearsals where everybody was given persmission to create something artistic and beautiful, and it all came out true. Everyone looked confident and present when they played like this. So that’s how I try to play and learn, by committing to the character or role, whether I am playing an idiot or a peice of furniture, I try to make it true. Because it is true, I really am up there pretending.
I recommend this book if you are interested in unlocking your creativity and understanding your process better, it seems to apply to all endeavours to me, not just writing. Next week I will talk about the quiet nature of imagination and strangling.