As writers we are constantly told to trust the process. Especially when things aren’t working within the story as we had hoped; when we hit the proverbial brick wall – or dreaded writers block.
So right – lets delve into this and see what exactly is meant by trusting the process and how we can take full advantage of doing just that.
Firstly, lets look at the makeup up of the brain – it’s our hard-drive, our operating system, so it’s vital. You know you need a laptop, computer or at least a pen and paper to get your story down, but the most important thing is to understand the phenomenal power between your ears.
The brain is separated, left quadrant deals with intellectual issues, and the right side is your creative zone. Most people function predominantly form either left or right. There are however, those blessed to live a very balanced life using both hemispheres adequately as and when needed. Blessed are the few.
Me, oh I am a right brainer out and out and make no apologies for it.
I blame stemming from a family of ten and being the second youngest at that. Well, don’t we all blame our youth for everything, so, that’s my excuse, and I am sticking with it.
Messing aside, in fact – it was my blessing. I had to speak up to be heard. And when no one was listening, which, was most of the time, I talked to myself. In that wonderful environment, my imagination and creativity blossomed.
Take that on 50 odd years and I find myself alone a lot of the time now with family reared and I talk to the walls, the dogs, the cat, birds, and just about anything that’s in front of me.
So how does that benefit my writing you may ask? Well, understanding the brain being left side intellectual, right side creative, and knowing we need each side for a different part of the writing process, I named them.
Well, I did tell you I was a total right brainer, creative type. So that was the obvious thing for me to do.
I sat at my desk and asked out loud, as you do, ‘OK, so, what are your names?’
And the answer that shot into the deep recess of my conscious mind was, Lucy and Rita.
Well, Ego did a back flip, morphed into the form of criticism, and questioned my sanity, instantly. It always throws its unwanted opinions in when moments of creative genius strikes.
Lucy and Rita – really? Criticism sneered. (Left brain)
To which, Creativity promptly replied – look at the acronyms Ita. (Right brain)
Oh yes, these two talk to each other, or over each-other, rendering me exhausted at times.
In this instance, creativity won because acronyms are important to me. Actually, I should say, words and their meanings are important to me. So just saying Lucy, or Rita was not enough for me. The names had to mean something else for me. Something deeper. They were, after-all, a very integral part of me.
For me, Ita – shall we say, the host of this operating brain system, my name is Ita and that had to have meaning for me too. For years I used the acronym, I Trust Angels, and I do. Then it was, I Teach Attitude – which, I do also. But one day, a few years back when life was really kicking me hard, I asked my higher self, my spiritual self – the real essence of me, what Ita really stood for. What was it at my core.
The instant impression that I wrote down has stayed with me and will for the remainders of my days on this earth. Ita means, I Trust, Amen. It’s my prayer. It’s me, in three words.
So the acronyms for my brain are –
Right, Ita, lets do this.
I actually felt a shiver when I read that in front of me. How perfect was that name for my creative side. Like, my name is even in Rita. Perfect or what?
As for Lucy
I am loyal to what I put my mind to. I will not compromise my priorities. I am curious and thank God I am as I want to learn until the day I die. Curiosity rocks. And as for yellow – that really made me smile as it’s the colour of creativity, so that linked the two sides. Throw into that the simplicity of Lucy – L for left brain, intellectual, and Rita – R for right side creative brain, and it was simplicity at it’s best. And yet they both had their deeper soul meanings for me.
So Lucy and Rita perfectly named, now what?
I ask whichever one I am working with to step forward and the other to take a seat and I promise her time later. Literally.
If my mind is a mess with a thousand things on the todo list of life stuff I know Lucy needs to be heard and I will take pen to paper and let her have her say – let her brain dump and then she’s ready to sit back. I tell her I am going to be writing with Rita for x number of hours and will be back for valuable opinion later in the process whether that be editing, research or whatever.
Look you may be thinking this all very light and airy fairy here but I have actually learned to have a very healthy respect for the powerful mind housed in my scull.
I have also spent three decades studying metaphysics so serendipity, coincidence, or divine intervention, whatever you choose to call it, all sits with ease within my understanding. And, I will go so far as to say that I totally believe that their are no coincidences, or serendipitous encounters; that instead we draw to us that which we have focused on.
So how do we use this in the trusting the process of writing?
Have you ever walked into a room and totally forgot what you wanted? Mostly we say – what the hell did I want – or what was I going to do. And, usually, within minutes, if it’s important, it comes back to us. We don’t ever question that process. We ask a question and expect to be answered in the form of a thought impressing itself on our conscious mind.
It’s the very same for writing. I was stuck recently with my WIP and asked what I was going to do to get around the issue. Two days later I end up down a rabbit hole during research and TRIP across exactly what I need in a true documentary. I couldn’t have dreamed it up. I shook my head, laughed, looked up, and just said, thank you.
I guarantee you if you start to take note you’ll see that many, many times every day you ask questions and get the answers.
What was I going to do? Where did I put my keys? What did I say I needed in the shop? What time did he, she or they say they were coming? And on and on. Just watch your mind for a while and you’ll see you do it constantly.
If you can throw out questions for everything else your doing and get the answers you need, why do you think you can’t for writing?
I needed to find a Nintendo that my daughter had years ago that we knew was in perfect working order. Now, this house is 95% packed, some in storage, the rest boxed, sealed, stored in one room. Wall to wall. Floor to ceiling. We had looked anywhere Nicole thought it was. I needed it asap as I had promised it to my grandson. And you don’t promise a child and not deliver.
I was up early typing, I stopped, said out loud, ‘girls, (that being Lucy & Rita) I know you know where in this house it is. If it’s in that room you know exactly what box. I need you to tell me. Thank you.’
I continued with my typing on WIP and within minutes, I literally saw like a movie in my head Nicole putting it in a big plastic box at the very back of the room with all her DVD’s. Between us we went after that box and there it was.
This stuff works. Trust your mind. It’s a powerful machine. Each side has its own job. Understand the working of each side and when to call them in.
You need, right side, creativity, for writing. Left side, intellectual, for editing. Right side, for plotting and structurally creative work. Left side, intellectual, for grammatical corrections. Right side, to come up with ingenious ways of solving problems you’ll encounter along the way. Left side, intellectual, for marketing and selling both yourself and your book when it is published.
Work with them. Use them to their fullest. When you start to focus on which side of your brain your working with for different tasks you also notice when you’re using the wrong one for the task at hand.
And finally, watch out for the ego. It’s insidious and morphs into soo many different elements of style to blindside you. It uses creativity within it’s suggestions making them almost believable, and intellect to fight it’s case.
After-all, the mind, as they say, can be both your greatest ally or your worst enemy. Learn to use it to your full advantage and trust the process.
Yours in writing
Ita, Lucy & Rita