Once upon a time back in my college days, I had the time learn how to throw pots. I have found that those long ago pottery lessons have always been with me as a writer. At first, you need much support to even begin to throw a pot. Someone else chooses your clay. She walks you through how to prepare it. You are given many hints on how condition the clay to make it suitable for throwing. Beginning writers need this same kind of support. I needed others to help me recognize my viable ideas versus my dead-in-the water ideas. I needed advice on how to approach ideas so that I could even get on the road to producing something that would engage readers. Seek out help in the beginning.
Throwing a pot is about finding the center of the clay, and getting all the other clay to revolve around that center. At first it feels impossible. The clay bulges in weird ways. It will even go flying off the wheel. My hands and elbows would be scraped. I practiced again and again. Experience is everything. Finally the day came. I slapped the clay on the wheel and pressed it with my hands, and the clay instantly centered. I had to have confidence and a steady hand. The first important step to writing is finding that story center. Stories revolve around their centers. It took much practice to throw the clay of an idea onto the wheel of my imagination and then center it with the force of my will. I always feel that sense of knowing when I center a pot or center of a story. It is unimaginably satisfying.
One more pottery lesson, once a pot is formed and hardened, it's time to fire it. A glaze is applied to the exterior of the greenware. This glaze will harden into shiny coating when extreme temperature is applied. All stories must go through a refiner's fire to come to elegant completion. This is a dangerous time for a pot and a story. I have worked hard to get it to this place, but the refiner's fire can destroy my work. Pots crack. Glazes wonk. You may end up with something very different from your initial vision. You may end up with a muddy mess that has to be thrown into the scrap pile. Stories are the same. In writing, the fire is revision. Revision may lead to a new novel or it may lead to a worthless disaster. Regardless, it is the only way to success. You may feel fear during revision time. You are right to be afraid. You will have to apply your hottest thought force to make your finished story emerge, and there is a good chance you will fail. Writing is not for the faint of heart.
I hope these pottery lessons help you on your journey.Next week I will start my Golden Advice series.
Here is the doodle.
Here is a quote for your pocket: