Writing the Wild Within: Part 2 – Predator and Prey

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White-Tailed Ptarmigan, copyright Ellen Wilson

White-Tailed Ptarmigan, copyright Ellen Wilson

Creatures in the wild are constantly alert.  They have to be.  You either eat, or will be eaten.

It’s all part of the natural cycle.  We eat things.  We digest them.

We spit out our art.

But do we?  Can we?

What keeps us from being true to ourselves – true to our inner core?  What is the predator within the cycle of our writing?  Can we identify it?

The Predator

The biggest predator you will find that will stop you in your tracks is the EDITOR.  This editor will keep you from saying what you need to say. This editor will shame you, berate you, and try to make you look like a fool.

Don’t listen.

The EDITOR, like the Devil, takes many shapes and forms.  You will find the EDITOR in your psyche as you try to write.  You will hear things like:  I can’t say that, they will think I’m crazy!  What will my mother/father/brother/lover/sister think? 

Fuhgeddaboutit.  Your are crazy. You are wild.  A wild writer.  So chase after your words and let them pop from the keyboard of your mind onto the page.

Specific Writing Problems May Relate To:

The Evil Master – If you are a woman, you may find your writing peppered with hedging statements.  We have been trained from an early age to be “nice.”  Learn to resist this EDITOR and blaze on with who you are!  Not who someone wants you to be.  Make friends with your animus. The male part of you.  This male doesn’t take shit.  He will beat up those who mess with you.  Like the EDITOR.

The Bitchy Mistress – If you are a man, you may find your writing being extremely self centered and egotistical.  You have been trained from an early age to think you are the center of the world.  Try to find your anima.  The female part of you.  Make friends with her, or you will forever be alienated from all females on the Earth. This female is caring, and she likes to include others’ viewpoints.

Next time you stare at that empty page and think you have made several false starts – think again.  Who is trying to keep you from what you need to say?  Track the editor/predator in your psyche.  Learn the who, what, where, how, and why of what it is.  Then it won’t track YOU anymore.

After you identify the editor/predator, put it to good use – in the editing process.  Throw it a hunk of meat of your raw writing.  This is where this creature is best utilized.

Once tamed, it will never bother you again.

Photo Credit: © Ellen Wilson

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6 Responses to Writing the Wild Within: Part 2 – Predator and Prey

  1. Karen Swim says:

    Ellen, I am going to print this and put it in front of my desk! I have been having a smackdown with my editor all year. I wrestle the beast to the ground only to have her get up and want to go another round. I can feel her growing weaker and my endurance is building up. You have fueled my drive to slay the beast for good. Going to give her a good smack now! Thanks Ellen!

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..The Last Lecture

  2. Ellen Wilson says:

    I think the trick is taming the editor beast and putting it to good use where it should be – editing. But I know a lot of writers who first have a go around with this creature get scared. You won’t die if you write words you think are controversial or “wrong.” You can always edit them later! The main thing is to get the words out now. It makes your writing more powerful.

    Good luck with your writing Karen. You are an excellent writer and I know this creature won’t get the best of you. E

  3. I agree that sometimes the internal editor can really limit you, but I’m not so sure about the male and female parts of the psyche (or, er, energies).

    What being male and female means is established by culture and really I think that’s where it should stay. Just because people associate egotism with men and being “nice” with women in our culture doesn’t mean we should label characteristics as such. It just perpetuates the stereotype.

    Like anything though, you need a balance of egotism and niceness. Getting the words out is the most important and then you can figure out the rest later 🙂

    Allison White’s last blog post..Bias coverage of the Olympic protests – good or bad?

  4. Ellen Wilson says:

    Thanks for contributing to the debate, Allison.

    I understand social and sexual stereotypes in society, and that’s what I was trying to unearth in writing this piece. Actually, I just scratched the surface, but I do think that a lot of writers are inhibited in their writing due to cultural conditioning. You can label the aspects of this conditioning however you want, and I’m sure other writers would have different variations of it. I just chose a few, the aspects that are most blatant to me.

    Yes, I do think we need a healthy mix of egotism and social politeness. Usually. But do you think that if women were more assertive we would be able to advance quicker in our careers? Or would we bump up against the glass ceiling?

  5. I love that photo, man that’s good!

    Darren Daz Cox’s last blog post..Springtime Maiden oil painting and poem

  6. Ellen Wilson says:

    Happy to share my photos! I took this in Glacier National Park, Montana.

    The funny thing was I noticed this ptarmigan had a little silver leg band after I took the picture. He/she was scuttling around with a family of chicks.

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