Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Naked writing

I did some naked writing this weekend and it felt great.

Naked writing isn’t writing in the buff. It’s what I call writing without the covering of purpose; either a book contract or a plotted manuscript or any idea of where the hell it is going. Naked writing is a little bit stream of consciousness that erupts from your mind. You grab a pen or the alpha smart and just let go. It’s just you and the keyboard and nothing between you, like air and your naked skin.

Naked writing is freeing. It comes without the constraints of editor’s comments, revisions, criticism from a critique partner, or the doubts raised from a bad review or low contest scores, or even reader expectations. Naked writing is you and writing at its purest. It’s taking an idea and running with it, writing without worrying about following a path, and writing whatever inspires you.

The naked writing I did was after we’d visited a river I love. I got an idea for a new paranormal while we cruised the river. I saw danger lurking among the red mangroves, envisioned the hero with his sullen, embittered wariness, and the heroine filled with desperate hope. I saw a little blue heron fishing among the shallow, murky riverbank and it became not a bird, but a spy, an invader, a threat.

I just wrote and wrote for the pure pleasure. It was the first time in a long time I’ve done any naked writing. I have two looming deadlines and the writing wasn’t for those. I’m not contracted for any more Nocturnes, so there was no purpose in this writing. I probably will never sell it. I wasn’t thinking story ideas for a new proposal or to sell another book. I was writing for the sheer joy of creating, and letting my imagination fly.

I was getting naked with my writing.

Being a writer is great, but it does have its straitjacket moments. Susan Elizabeth Phillips says, “Protect the work.” One aspect I see of protecting the work is pushing aside all the layers that can come between you and the essential spark that is your creativity. Like too much clothing in a Florida summer, they can smother us. That’s when we need to toss everything off, and just get naked with our writing.

Try it next time. You might just find how fun and freeing running naked can be if you let your imagination fly as you write.


Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Wonderful post. I'm so glad you enjoyed flying free. Revel in it. It sounds like a terrific story, actually. If you ever feel like showing it to anyone, you know where I live (VBG).

Bonnie Vanak said...

Thanks Jennifer, but I'm gravitating more toward naked writing and keeping it where it should be, away from the public eye. Some things naked are not very pretty, lol

Maybe I'll become a naked writing hermit and go live in a cyber cave, writing on my Alpha Smart and thinking how brilliant I am while typing, "all work and no play makes Bonnie a dull woman..."