What A Feeling

As I’ve mentioned before, I was a baton twirler back in the day and on occasion, I still get asked to teach a camp or a private lesson or two.  It’s funny because I get a little nervous, worried that I might be out of practice.  And then, I discover again how much I love it even if it is hard work sometimes.  Writing is like that.

You know that expression, “Dance like nobody is watching”?  That was totally me.  I made up countless routines that were pretty awesome in my mind as I twirled to my heart’s content to whatever was on the radio.  I mean, they play the same songs over and over anyhow.  And if the video had a pretty cool dance, well I was all over it.  With a baton in my hand of course.  I loved choreographing just in case anyone in charge asked me for what should go next in our group routines.  It rarely happened, but when it did, I felt this swell of pride whenever we performed.  But most of those routines I made up in our garage?  No one ever saw.  Like scattered pieces of someone’s first draft.

Yesterday it hit me.  I think, know, and now feel why my writing fresh stuff has stalled.  I’m out of practice.  I keep thinking the perfect version has to happen the moment I sit to write.  I’ve forgotten to give myself permission to go with the flow and write whatever comes to mind.  So what if it sucks?  I have plenty of time to revise it.  I’m pretty sure that my first dance twirl version of Michael Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” was a lot worse that what I choreographed for my sister, two twirling friends, and myself to perform at contests.  Oh, and “What A Feeling” by Irene Cara?  Who knows how many transformations that one went through.  But I think the true testament is that routine I fell back on time and time again, “Ease On Down the Road.”  I’d improvised to that song so many times that when it was time to actually do something for real with it, I knew which parts were keepers and which could be ditched for something better.  Just like revisions.

So today, I’m going to bust out of my rut, slap on some inspirational and cheesy 80’s music, and write whatever crap comes to mind.  As long as I tell myself that no one may ever see it, I can get tons of words down, maybe even a whole story.  A story filled with passive writing, cliches, and plot holes.  There’s plenty of time later to revise and edit.  Oh, to write like nobody’s reading…What a feeling!


About Micki Gibson

Young Adult fiction writer
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4 Responses to What A Feeling

  1. jeff7salter says:

    “I’ve forgotten to give myself permission to go with the flow and write whatever comes to mind.”

    Very good lesson for all of us to remember.
    For several years in journalism, I usually had to produce ‘copy’ on a deadline. And seldom had the luxury of thinking about it too much. Of, I’d revise, of course, but it was very rare to go past first draft plus one revision. There simply wasn’t time.
    For my 29 years in librarianship, most of my ‘writing’ was memos, documentation, correspondence, & reports — most of which were ‘immediate’. So, first draft plus one revision (typically). But things like evaluations, policies, proposals, manuals, etc., often went through multiple drafts & usually had to be ‘cleared’ by my boss.
    My primary creative writing during those 36 years … was poetry. In poetry, I did exactly as your sentence (above) suggests: I had implicit permission “to go with the flow and write whatever comes to mind.” Some of those 1000+ poems I’ve overhauled, revised, polished, tweaked … whatever. But there are many which REMAIN those very first utterings: an image, a few lines, a couplet, a verse or two. Whatever was IN me at that moment which had to come out.

    In my 7 un-published, but complete, fiction manuscripts — Most of my production is the ‘whatever comes to mind’ stuff. But when I’m filling in holes, making specific transitions, laying particular foundations … I find I sweat over every word. In those instances, it DOES have to be “just right”.
    So, with me, it depends on which aspect of the ms. that I’m working on. First drafts usually fly freely. The other stuff comes with blood and tears … & sweat..


    • Micki Gibson says:

      My first manuscript was written very freely. I knew it needed lots of work, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Ignorance was very, very blissful. Then I took a workshop. Then another. Then another. And now I cringe over that manuscript which barely resembles that first effort. Thing is I forgot how to write in that blissful state of mind. I signed up for a writing challenge this week and here it is, nearly 3:30 and my day has been hijacked by all the non-writing Mom stuff. However, I swear I will get a lot of words done tonight one way or another! I’ve got my motivational music to get me in the mood to write ready when the rest of the world leaves me along long enough to make it happen. 🙂


  2. Awesome- hope it was productive!!


  3. danicaavet says:

    Sometimes you have to write bad stuff to discover the good. I have so many unfinished stories saved up that I could almost (not really) rival Ms. Nora Roberts in terms of works. But those stories are awful. However, I can take what I do like from them and put them in something else. Like you said, it’s about improvising, seeing what works, and choosing the best to make a great routine, or story.


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