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Rita Farin : Mindless Writing 101

Mindless Writing 101: Permission to Play, Have Fun and Be an Artist

By Rita Farin

My mind got very pissed off the other day. It was finally settling into its favorite lavender-scented bubble bath when it heard an awful thing. So awful that it got out of the tub and started jumping up and down and yelling in outrage. Until I agreed to sit down and write this article.

I was at an art show where my boyfriend and I fell in love with a particular artist's work. When I saw the way the artist had mastered the use of acrylics in the way I wanted to, I approached the guy standing in the booth and asked if I could take classes.

"No," he said. "The artist is very busy and very shy. But she'll tell you that, as an artist, you have to just give yourself permission to play, try different things out and see what works."

"Yeah, I understand. I'm a writer and it's the same thing in writing or any art form really," I said.

"Well no. I come from a big family of writers and I know that when it comes to writing, it's all about character development."

That's when my mind got out of the tub and when my boyfriend gave me a look that said, "I can just imagine what's going on in your head right about now." After taking oodles of writing, art and creativity classes, workshops and trainings over the last 20 years, I've come to realize that somehow writing has been involved in a terrible PR campaign that has created a scary, unapproachable and painful image of this sweet art form. Talk to any writer and you'll inevitably hear about the difficulties of writing. I used to be one of them. Now, I'm determined to put a stop to it.

Old Myths vs. New Realities

The following myths around writing are a disservice to writers, potential writers and the art of writing. Hearing these things over and over again from respected authors, directors of MFA programs and emerging writers creates a reality where writing is difficult and people are scared of trying it. It's time to deconstruct the old PR campaign, because everyone has something to say and it can actually be really fun to write.

Old myth: The writing process is difficult, full of struggle and painful.

New reality: The writing process can be easy, fun, joyful and blissful if we let it.

Whether you're painting, writing or creating any type of art, the creative process has two distinct parts to it: a flow that comes from quieting the mind and letting the art travel through us, and the craft in which we apply particular techniques to create a polished, finished product. There are zillions of classes on the craft of writing, where we learn about character development and scene creation and narrative arc — all important things that tame the writing and make it go deeper. But if we apply too much focus on the craft, the real organic beauty of our words can easily get squashed. And the process can become difficult, even joyless. Reveling in the mindless, organic part of the process and honoring it as an important part of creativity makes writing joyful and fun.

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