“Where your comfort zone ends, your authentic, abundant life begins.” Panache Desai
Do you ever feel that you’re in a rut? Are you experiencing writer’s block? Do you compare yourself to other writers and fail to write at all?
A few years ago, I participated in an online class called Creative Un-Bootcamp for Writers by Jacob Nordby, author of The Divine Arsonist and Blessed Are the Weird. One of the recommended books for the course is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Both authors recommend morning pages for stream of consciousness writing from the soul level and artist’s dates.
What is an artist date? Anything that interrupts one’s daily pattern to honor the artistic senses is an artist’s date. It can be anything from a nature walk to a visit to a museum to a weekend retreat for spiritual renewal. The key is to listen to your intuition and follow it.
Another take-away form Un-Bootcamp was the exploration of writers’ archetypes. I learned that there are four different archetypes, and although I resonant with all of them, one is more dominant than the others.
Story Teller: Comes from the heart with atmospheric details, dialog, and story arc. The story evolves sequentially with a beginning, middle and end. Lessons about life and relationships are taught through stories. The story teller is also called the Shaman. The Shaman sits by the campfire to tell stories that teach to a tribe, usually one main message.
Professor: Comes from the mind and is linear and detail oriented. The professor makes outlines, analyzes data and teaches “how to” with concrete, factual material. When the professor combines teachings with a story to illustrate the given facts, the teaching becomes more effective and reaches a greater audience.
Herald: Comes from the mind or heart to tell somewhat random events in short articles such as news stories, videos, and blogs. Passion for a particular issue or current event combines mental concepts with heart felt communication. Many bloggers write about emotional issues dealing with relationships, death, illness, bullying, etc.
Poet/Troubadour: Comes from the heart to present abstract, holistic, centralized and romanticized ideas and feelings. The poet communicates through feelings, themes and symbols. One “understands” the message without being able to say why.
Which one of these is most dominant to you? Which one feels right for you as a writer? If you aren’t a writer, perhaps one of these archetypes would work for you now that you know what they are.
I have written nonfiction workbooks on cooperative learning for children (the Professor), co-authored a musical, and published a sci-fi novel for young readers (Story Teller). I often write poetry, mostly as a creative outlet to post on Facebook, and I write blog articles about writing.
Which of these is my dominant archetype? After contemplating each one, to my surprise, I resonate most strongly with Poet/Troubadour. This is because I am an emotional, touchy-feely type person. So, I am a Poet/Troubadour and a Storyteller. As a blogger, I am the Herald, and professionally, I am Professor/teacher/editor. I find it best to try to find balance between the mind and the heart rather than coming strictly from one or the other.
What good does it do to know about the archetypes? Instead of comparing yourself to others, be content to realize you are uniquely talented in your own realm without needing to be like anyone else. For me, knowing my archetype encourages me to write more poetry while continuing to write novels, plays, and blogs.
Writers’ Style: Plotter or Pantser?
It is also important for me to realize that although many successful authors are Plotters with story boards and a plot all mapped out before beginning to write, it is OK to be a Pantser and fly by the seat of my pants. When I write a story, I have an idea of setting and characters, but the plot develops as I write, not before writing. Some people call this channeling or automatic writing. I call it my style of writing. When not writing, I am thinking about the story, but I don’t know what is going to happen next in the story until I write it.
Here are some quotes from famous authors to further illustrate my point:
Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver
A word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow
Lillian Nader, M.Ed. is an author, playwright, copyeditor, and educator.
She can be reached at Lnader1910@sbcglobal.net or visit her website at https://www.lilliannader.com