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The Joy of Cutting Loose

July 18, 2013

My work as a writer and editor involves a lot of deadlines. Whether I am getting a book to one of my publishers, or sample chapters to my agent, I seem to be in an intimate relationship with the clock. The same holds true when I edit clients’ books, write book proposals, or ghostwrite.

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As days, weeks, months and years march on, it’s becoming harder and harder to find time to cut loose, write spontaneously, just throw down those words on any subject and have as much fun as a kid playing in the sandbox. Or, as the late Lester Bangs, one of my favorite music writers back in the day, put it: “Writing for the sake of writing.”bob at skywalker-lores

After another grueling ten-week period of deadline work (editing four novels and Innovation & Technology Today magazine; ghostwriting one book and part of another; sending a book proposal for another co-writing project to my agent, Dana Newman, who also finalized my deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Just Add Water, the biography-memoir I’m writing on surfing great Clay Marzo; running advance publicity for Jide Familoni’s fine novel, Losing My Religion; teaching at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference; five writer interviews for the 366Writing and Word Journeys blogs; and wrapping up my latest poetry-collection collection, Backroad Melodies, published by Tuscany Global in late June), I finally broke away. I headed to the majestic mountains and forests of Montana and Idaho for a week of hiking, running, swimming, and visiting old friends. As I boarded the plane, burned out and sleep deprived, I was ready to dismiss all word-related matters for a week. To that end, I left my computer and iPad home. A week without keyboards … aaaaaah.

2013-07-10 12.18.22All of that happened, leaving me rejuvenated, refreshed, and just about ready to call Montana home. But so did this: more than 70 pages of new writing in my journal, in the free form, slap-it-down, just write for the sake of writing spirit of things. I wrote as Jack Kerouac or Lester Bangs did, like a madman, letting my powers of observation intermingle with my heart, mind, soul and the inexhaustible word bank in the sky. Feeling the exquisite burn of unharnessed creativity. I was again the kid in the sandbox, making a mess and playing with my toys. My journal, which I have been keeping since 1978 but not so much in recent months, now looks like a disturbed anthill after you pour water on it, with new paragraphs, sentences, ideas, and sketches running amok.

Since I’m a multi-genre, multi-subject writer who has no problem taking chances with new forms or topics, I spent the week writing about: the incredible scenics of Glacier National Park, Kalispell National Forest, Flathead Lake, Coeur d’Alene, the Bitterroot Mountains and the Salish-Kootenai National Bison Range; the effects of climate change on Glacier; the three-day visit with my high school running coach, Brad Roy, and his family; the unparalleled integration of fitness, sports, medicine, physical therapy, coaching/mentoring and rehabilitation at Brad’s facility, The Summit Medical Fitness Center; my sweetheart Martha Halda’s exploits at the Missoula Half Marathon (as recounted in the July 17 Word Journeys blog); Martha’s “homecoming” to Coeur d’Alene (where she attended college in the late 70s-early 80s); and a dozen other topics. The writing came out as poems, idea sketches for everything from novellas to short stories, article ideas, short prose pieces accompanied by drawings, and vignettes. Also, there was plenty of stream-of-consciousness scrawl, the heart and soul of any good journal.

From just cutting loose for a week, I have enough story, poem and article ideas to last for months … or 2013-07-13 13.16.45longer. More than that, I’ve tapped again into the pure spirit and love of writing, the inexplicable feeling of unleashing all inhibitions and censorious mind games to put words and sentences together. Or, as my friend and client, the memoirist Davion Famber, puts it, “drop some rhymes.” Nothing feels quite like spending an hour or two dropping some words, filling journal pages, writing out the essence of life itself: holding court in the present moment, feeling all of your power and creativity in that instant, and rushing in that adrenalin-fused, breath-catching state of mind that we as writers know.  Who knows? There might be a sentence, paragraph or entire piece that you can grow out.

There is nothing more therapeutic than cutting loose with words … or for our creativity and productivity as writers.

Be sure to cut loose today — and enjoy the results.

Other Blogs to Check Out:

Interview with “Fobbit” author David Abrams

Interview with “A Taste of Eternity” author Martha Halda

Interview with “Losing My Religion” author Jide Familoni

Interview with “Identity Issues” and mystery author Claudia Whitsitt

Interview with “Satchel & Sword” Trilogy author Claudette Marco

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