In an uncharacteristic move (and a possibly unsettling one for those who know me), I'm keeping this brief. In short, I’ve had an epiphany, courtesy of my kids fighting over the last of the gummi cherry hearts. It goes like this: to achieve balance, sanity, success as a writer, I must get my Roshambo on . . . play a little Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Let’s start with Paper, the medium of my chosen art form (ignoring, for the purposes of this strained metaphor, the Kindle and all Kindle-like devices). You wanna write? Then do it. Get your ideas on paper. Sit down and scratch out some prose. And do it often. But remember, as even the youngest Roshambo player quickly learns, you can't throw Paper every time and expect to win. At some point, those Scissors have to come along . . .
. . . and shear off the useless, the superfluous, that which hinders forward progress. Yes, I’m talking about cutting from manuscripts (you should have seen the carnage from our first professional edit), but also about life. Sure, it’s nice to make homemade confections for your kid’s bake sale, but what are those gooey chocolately squares doing for your characters, your plot, your agent search? A whole lot of nothing. Carve away the unnecessary. Stop by the bakery on the way home and call it good. Get some wine while you're at it. It helps.
And don't forget the Rock. (Anyone else picturing Dwayne Johnson? Shirtless? But I digress...) I’m relying on homonyms here to make this work but, again, it’s my strained metaphor so my prerogative. Rock. Not a stone for skipping, but Rock as in I Wanna Rock and R.O.C.K. in the USA and, dare I say it, Rock Lobster. In other words, ROCK! Surround yourself with kick-ass music. With transcendental art. With film and theatre and dance and paintings and clothing and humor and food that beckon your muse. That expand your mind creatively. Talk with people who challenge and inspire you. And then take that inspiration (and your glass of Cab, and one of the brownies you pilfered before shipping 'em off to a bunch of ungrateful third-graders), and start throwing Paper all over again.