Getting the junk outta your writing.
The image above leads me to a story. There is a point I promise. So let us wander into the fog of yesterday’s memories.
We see a man in a round ring with a little girl about 8 or 9 outside the fence watching intently. Sweat darkens the horse’s sorral (red) coat almost black. The steady sound of hooves thump the ground. The easy manner of the man holding the rope tied to the horse’s halter. He watches both horse and child.
“Come here.” He beckons the child. He stands her in front of him and gives her the rope. He guides her fingers into a loose but firm grip. Silently he steps back watching them work together. She is focused on the horse and keeping her grip on the rope. She doesn’t realize he has backed up and she alone is controling an animal easily 5 times her size.
“Alright turn her and go counter clockwise.” She turns to him and looses focus. The horse sensing the lack stops and turns towards the fence. “Now what are you going to do?”
She looks at him and the horse. The rope is limp and long in her tiny hands. She tries to pull the horse’s head to her. The mare fights the rope. She closes the distance between her and the horse. A knowing eye stays focused on the back feet and the ears.
Both are relaxed, although the horse is resting on three feet. The other back foot is tipped up, the girl knows that would be the kicking foot. She mumbles to the mare. Finally at the horse’s head, she tries to pull the mare away from the fence.
“Come on Miley. Just a lil longer. Please” she whispers to the horse.
A great brown eye studies her young handler. She noses the girl and allows herself to be led back the middle of the ring. She patiently awaits the comands the rope and man will give her. A blade of grass catches her fancy and she leans down for a snack.
Okay so now what have we learned? Other than I was an avivd horse lover back in the day. And lunging was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn.
According to my dad, lunging is how to get the junk out of the horse. His definition of junk was getting the horse past the “I don’t wanna work” mentality to the “It’s work time” mentality. And if you know anything about horses is they are all about the “don’t wanna” rather than the “let’s do this”.
As writers, we need a lunging/getting the junk out period. It focuses our inner brain and gets us ready to work. For the last several months I was bogged down trying to write. But I couldn’t focus beyond a few words. Fed up I opened up a new document and titled it “Junk Writing” and I spent an hour or so writing. Getting out the worries, fears, agravations of life, writing and doing stupid people tricks for my dogs. After that hour, I felt so light, and focused.
I started working an outline for a story. In fact that outline is posted to this blog under the Broken Writer post. I still haven’t figured out what is wrong with it yet. Maybe one day. Anyway once I got my brain settled into the work time mentality the words came easy. Or as easy as they ever do.
So next time you find yourself staring off into space try a mental luunging period and see if it helps. We don’t have to be great to get started. We just have to get started to be great. Thank you Mr. Les Brown for my writing motto.