Sunday, May 12, 2013

Some thoughts on being Intuitive

Recently I've been more and more thinking of myself as an intuitive writer/composer/actor.  Creatively I work by discovering the creation piece by piece rather than forming it carefully in advance. Certainly I've worked on structure, and the musical (Grimhilda!) was pretty well structured, but I think that was because I had someone else assisting with that side of things.  On my own the process of structuring something (especially something large) doesn't come easily to me. 

The intutitive aspect is probably also why I tend to absorb stuff, like books I'm reading, rather than learning the details, or the arguments. Even though it hasn't been consciously 'learned', the information will often turn up when needed at a later time. I don't have to search my brain for it; it arrives in some sort of subconscious way

I learn how to do things properly if I have an enthusiasm for them, but I'm not good at retaining 'facts' or 'information' by trying to learn them. I tend to absorb them in a way that I don't understand - probably like a child learns language. 

This intuitive approach can be unhelpful at times, especially when you know something you've written isn't working but can't see why, or you know a piece of information, but getting it to come to the surface is a problem, or when faced with the need for lateral thinking, you seem to fall over completely: the ideas will come, but long after you need them for that situation.   

I look with some degree on envy on those writers who can churn out work at the drop of a hat; they plan the structure, and then just get on with it.  I have to discover the whole thing (or a good deal of it) before I know I've got anything to structure.   

Yet give me a topic - like getting rid of moths, for example - (and even better, a deadline to go with it) and I'll produce something out of the blue.  I won't have any idea at the beginning where it's going, but it will slide out of the brain bit by bit and then, with a bit of editing and sorting out, it will be formed.  I used to do a lot of my columns for the Star Midweeker in that way...especially it they were needed the following morning and I hadn't managed to write anything in time. If I needed to do any research, I'd do it once the thing was done - generally.  Although this wasn't a hard and fast rule.  

The flash fiction I've written for the Flash Frontier site has tended to arrive in this way: having a theme means I've got something for my subconscious to get its teeth into, and having a deadline helps as well.  And I remember writing a couple of songs by request for our current church, and doing them with ease at a couple of days' notice.  It helped, again, that there was a topic, and a deadline.  (And at our previous church I wrote a script and several songs within a very short time because we had to start rehearsing so we could present the thing by a certain date. Amazing what happens when you're under that sort of pressure.)

However, things that involve a lot of facts and information, things that needed compiling into order, from different sources, are sheer hard grind.  I can do them, and it's usually satisfying in the end, but the process is much harder for me than doing something that has no obvious order when it starts.  This was the kind of work I did in my last job before I retired.  It took a lot more concentration than the purely creative stuff does.  Which is curious.

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