‘Mine is the Hardest Task’

‘You speak of Lord Byron and me—there is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees—I describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task.’  — John Keats

One of the questions I think about far too often is ‘Where do all my ideas come from?’. Some of my ideas, especially those writing-related, seem to be offered to me by another being from an odd alternative universe. Many of my novel ideas are based on things I’ve never truly experienced, love, death and the many things in between. How then, can I write of them?

Some may argue I can’t, that because I haven’t experienced something first hand I couldn’t possibly write of it. And to some extent I believe this too, for a long time I followed the phrase ‘write what you know’ diligently. It’s only recently I’ve broken free.

I guess the real question is, ‘Where does knowledge come from?’. 

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To Plot in a Visual Way

I’m a visual thinker, as we’ve no doubt established, as well as a pantser (but only 90% of the time), but there comes a time when plotting is essential. My current plot is one that requires just that, elaborate planning and forward-plotting, one of which I don’t find too much enjoyment in (the latter).

Plotting and outlining are things I’ve never been too good at, I love binge-writing (and with school it was almost the only way I’d get anything written) and pantsing, there’s a thrill akin to an adrenaline rush that comes from galloping into the unknown although the momentum can be limited, prone to running out.

I see plotting and outlining as lengthy, strenuous processes (though I’m most definitely bias) in which your creativity is sucked dry by an idea that’s barely had time to stew in the pot of your mind. Nevertheless, it’s something I’ve had to learn to do, though not very willingly, and as such I’ve developed my own methods, and ones that (hopefully) retain the creativity I so fiercely love to protect, five are listed below:

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A Haunted Palace

Photo by Kainet

One of my absolute favourite poems is by the American poet Edgar Allan Poe entitled ‘The Haunted Palace’. I first read it in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, one of Poe’s short stories in which the poem plays a crucial role, namely emphasising the theme of one’s descent into madness.

I’m not usually a poem-person, my first choice of literature will always be one of novel-length, however the genius of this one struck me upon reading it.

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2015 – A Year of Firsts

Photo by Mike Powell.

“…I love first times. I want my whole life to be composed of them. Life is only interesting if life is wide…” — Kill Your Darlings (movie).

2015 will be an explosive year filled with an almost daunting amount of first times and amazing opportunities. It will be my first year at University studying Law conjoint with English (and potentially Psychology) which is very exciting. Despite the challenges the new environment will no doubt throw at me, I would love to take a leap forward in my writing career.

To ensure this, and to further ‘widen’ my life, I’ve set myself a series of writerly goals, of ‘first times’ I’d like to achieve in ‘the writing world’ this year. The following were inspired by Brooke Warner’s post;

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Writing Visually; A Beginning

Photo by gbohne

More often than not I like to think of things in a visual way. When I read books I don’t see words in neat rows like marching ants, no, I see an unfolding story, a movie of sorts. When I recall books I’ve read, be it the good ones or the not-so-good ones, I see the character’s tales laid out before me but it’s rare that I remember a word of it. It’s why I, despite reading regularly and in large amounts, don’t have the best vocabulary – I look through the words and at the story.

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