Monday, June 7, 2010

Chew Your Food

As a kid, playing held greater appeal to me than eating. I'd gulp down my food so I could get back to my dolls. This resulted in a frequent admonition from my mother to "chew your food or you'll choke."

When I'm rushing around involved in writing, reading, blogging, email, and all the other activities of life, I sometimes end up swallowing a concept that needs further breakdown. After gasps, sputters, and choking, I must go back and take time to meditate on the information in bite-sized pieces.

Writing a synopsis or proposal sends me over the edge. I finally located some study material and took the time needed to properly digest it. This principle holds true for any other aspect of writing such as character development, point of view, and grammar.

How about you? Do you take the time to break aspects of the craft into nuggets and chew on them?

40 comments:

Jan Cline said...

Im guilty of rushing through information. I have always been that way. Its a discipline like many other things. Im glad Im not the only one! I'll join you in a new commitment to slow down and soak it in! Thanks.

Cindy said...

Yes! I know what you mean. There have been many concepts throughout writing that I've needed to revisit and really break down the true meaning of.

And you know what? Revisiting writing concepts is kind of like revisiting Bible concepts or verses. When you get further along in your journey, you can ingest the concept in a different way. It means something different to you. And maybe, since you've matured, you can understand it in a new and more productive way. So it never hurts to re-read something or re-learn it because it might be just the right time to truly grasp how it could improve your writing.

Jessica Nelson said...

I think I do, which is why I like articles rather than craft books. Gives me a little to chew on while I go about my day. :-)

Have a wonderful one!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I'm afraid I have to agree with Jan! I tend to read and write in the fast forward lane. I know I could learn more by taking it slow, one step at a time. Discipline is so hard, but I'm working on it!

Karen Lange said...

I too, will hurry through info, not taking it all in. I have learned to slow down somewhat, but still have room to grow. It's all part of the process, isn't it?
Blessings,
Karen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jan -

Sometimes my head spins because I try to absorb so much at once. We're truly in an age of information overload.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

Excellent point! There are concepts I touched on when I was a newbie that I'm only now appreciating.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I have to read craft books in small chunks or I get overwhelmed. I've got about four of them with bookmarks stuck inside. (Hmm, that's where some of my bookmarks are located.)

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sherrinda -

We've heard of speed reading, but how about speed learning? Unless we're blessed with a photographic memory, it's unlikely.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Donna -

In school, the teacher taught a lesson, gave us exercises to work on, and homework. At some point, we were quizzed or tested to see how much of the material we retained.

Perhaps following a similar pattern with writing skills would help.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

It sure is part of the process. Many of us learn through trial and error. I'm finding that a quick zoom through information doesn't make it stick in my brain.

Blessings,
Susan :)

kristen said...

I am starting to break things down and really chew them. I have not done well at this till now, and the results have been mediocre. I'm focusing and slowly working through character development, motivations, and setting descriptions. I'm having a blast and it's not the drudgery I thought it would be. My characters are surprising me in ways I never thought they would.
Thanks, Susan.

Angela Ackerman said...

I think this is why blog posts are so awesome--how people can take a singular concept and really look at it in the detail it deserves.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Thanks for sharing your experience with properly chewing information.

I read something today that gave me direction for a project. It involves focusing on my characters.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Angela -

Thank you for your kind words. As much as I enjoy writing the blog posts, the conversation afterward always yields further insight. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm guilty of rusing through things way too often! I was forced to slow way down when I faced writing a synopsis.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Proposals send me over the edge, too, Susan. It's all those details that make me grind my teeth in the middle of the night.

Thanks for your encouragement. You are a constant source of kindness.

Love
Jen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Heather -

I find I rush through tasks I consider unpleasant. Maybe if we buckle down and get to work, we'll find it isn't as bad as we feared.

Interesting - could fear be what makes us zoom through the learning curve rather than information overload? It's a question to consider.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Thanks for the thumbs up. :) You've got the heart of an encourager.

Blessings,
Susan

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I definitely try to. It depends on the season I'm in.

patti said...

GREAT post!
No, I'm a swallow whole type and have had to upchuck a couple of times!!

LOVE being back HERE!!!

Patti

Nancy said...

That is so cute about the doll thing. I loved dolls, too. I even have my own American Girl doll, Felicity. And I dress her for the seasons. I'm way past the doll fanatic I used to be, though.

As for the writing question, I'm probably quicker than I should be. I need to slow down, as you say.

Terri Tiffany said...

I know what you mean too. I have tried to avoid breaking down many writing aspects--but they always catch up and I find I have to go back and do it. UGH

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Yes, some seasons are busier than others (like when you're on a missions trip). :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

LOL! I love your description. Glad to see you.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

I loved dolls and still do, but it's more of an aesthetic thing rather than a plaything. They're so lifelike.

I guess a lot of us want to do things microwave instead of conventional oven style.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jaime said...

Mine isn't so much rushing as it is drowning in too much and having a difficult time compartmentalizing so I can address each aspect separately. :)

Jaime said...

Mine isn't so much rushing as it is drowning in too much and having a difficult time compartmentalizing so I can address each aspect separately. :)

Maria I. Morgan said...

Love this concept, Susan! You're absolutely right that oftentimes truly digesting something requires lots of chewing and meditating! Great analogy!

Wanted to respond to your comment over at Life Lessons too! You are doing a great job pointing others to the Master! I appreciate the gems of wisdom you share on your blog! You're a constant encouragement! God bless you mightily this week!

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I am learning this lesson, or should I say relearning.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jaime -

Yes, time management is a familiar issue. Perhaps if you take one facet of writing, like POV, and focus on that when you have a few minutes, it would help.

My tendency is to try to eat a 7-course "writing meal" in ten minutes.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Maria -

I'm glad the analogy made sense. Thanks for your encouragement.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Yes, we sometimes need to take a refresher course. Thanks for joining the discussion. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Jill Kemerer said...

I print things out so when I'm ready to chew them, I'll have them available. You are definitely not alone!

Jody Hedlund said...

Love this thought, Susan! I do slow down more when it's something I realize I need to really put into practice, something good for me! I think that's why writers conferences are so good--they give us the time to focus/feast on the writer's banquet of knowledge!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

I do the same thing now. Otherwise, I forget where I saw an article that I want to study.

Anyone else have a method that works for them?

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jody -

You make another good point. When I come across an article/book that addresses an area where I need improvement, I give it more attention.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Sandra Heska King said...

I tend to rush because I don't want to miss anything. Unfortunately, rushing tends to cause me to miss stuff. LOL. I do find that my old stuff becomes new when I revisit it!

I love giraffes!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sandra -

Isn't this giraffe cute? I thought it was the perfect graphic for this post. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Faith Imagined said...

This concept is so important for writers, especially writers who have a knack for provoking emotions and the gift of persuasion.

We have to be careful we don't influence our audience on a misguided "truth" that we later realize is false.

Thanks for this insight!