The Caged Writer Roars: My Writing Process

Bridget in a moment of post-writing relief

Bridget in a moment of post-writing relief

This is a photograph of me at 4pm this afternoon. I started today feeling almost the most miserable I have ever felt, and have ended it a little better. Can you see my relief?

Today I finished a first draft of chapter 1 of 20 chapters, of what is provisionally (and slightly long-windedly) entitled Tracking The Wild Animal: A journey to living in freedom and creativity.

You’ll find it here.

Before Christmas I realised, with regret, that, given my other work commitments, I wouldn’t manage to seal myself away for the large chunk of January I’d planned. So, I decided that the best approach was to devote one half-day per week to writing a short chapter of this book on our wild creative nature. I hope to finish the first draft book in 20 weeks.

What has been incubating for two years now, is an 18 step theoretical approach to moving from block to flow in work, relationships and creative pursuits.

It’s a broadening out of the theory I use when working with writers through Wild Words. This systematic approach uses the metaphor of ‘tracking a wild animal’. I came up with this approach over several trips to track wild animals in the Himalaya’s, and Pyrenees.

Recently, in my own life, I’ve been rather echoing today’s writing subject ‘The Caged Animal Roars’. Yesterday, forgetting the key to my office did not help my general mood. I did the first 2 hours work on this chapter outside before someone let me in. Luckily, being outdoors always makes me feel better, and that happened yesterday. It was extraordinarily mild for a January day, and I could hear the river rushing in the gorge.  My eyes were able to rest with each pause in the writing, as I looked at the mist hanging over the far mountains.

I’ve spent two months trying to work out how to write this first chapter. I knew that if I could get that right, the rest would know where to go. It’s been unremittingly horrible. There is nothing that makes me more depressed than floundering around unable to find the heart of my writing.

One sticking point here has been how to bring the theory together with my personal experience, as well as how much to write fiction, and how much autobiography.  Reading back what I’ve written, I see it’s about half fact, half fiction. Which is which, I’ll keep to myself for now.

The other major block to the process has been the complexity of the theory. There’s the vast terrain of our relationship to nature, to ourselves, and to creativity to explore through the book. And I won’t begin to name all the psychology theorists that will inform the story as it goes on.

With the completion of this first chapter today (albeit extremely rough at the edges), I feel released. That’s the addiction of writing. I know from experience I’ll remember this thrill and forget the horrors of the process. Oh well. At least I live with passion and vibrancy!

Thinking of you all as you beaver away in your solitary writing spaces this week. Wishing you great freedom of word and expression.