Racing for brilliance

I had such fun last night. So much fun that I couldn’t sleep when I went to bed and kept waking throughout the night. My mind was racing. Why? Because I had just joined in my first online writing race.

I am a fan of writing quickly. Racing to get thoughts on the page opens doorways to potential greatness that our inner critics might otherwise keep firmly shut. I remember once listening to an interview on ABC Classic FM between Margaret Throsby and the curator of an art gallery who had put together an exhibit of Australian artist Sidney Nolan’s work. The curator explained that Sidney Nolan’s philosophy was to paint quickly; so quickly that he left behind some 35 000 works!! Nolan’s belief was that it was only in painting quickly that he was able to go beyond the rational and into the mystical. And sometimes he hit brilliance.

Nolan is often criticised for leaving behind many thousands of ‘dud’ paintings and ‘only’ a few dozen or so masterpieces. Well gee… if I reach the end of my writing career with only a few dozen masterpieces I think I will be resting in peace.

Race on writers… brilliance is just a few thousand words away.


3 comments on “Racing for brilliance

  1. Up until I read your post, I never really considered that painters suffer the same inner critic the way writers do. But the more I think about it, the more I can see how that happens. I think Nolan had it figured. Get it out-get it down and know the magic is there.

    I have recently been setting myself little racing challenges at home. A spare few minutes when I don’t have enough time to get into the flow of the main project. I now sit and power write for the small chunk of time I have. Out of those little bursts come outlines for other stories, fixes for the current project, new directions for the book. All good fodder for writing later on. It’s been a bit like stoking the fire to keep the blaze aglow.

    The thing I love about free writing is that it comes to us without the veil of criticism we so often cloak our work in. What we end up with is true form and not something that disguises the edges.

  2. meg says:

    Jo, I believe you are our reigning AWMonline Writing Race champion. Cracking the 2000 word mark in one hour is an awesome effort!

    And as for the quantity -v- quality debate, I am just grateful for anything that supports my commitment to getting the words down. Only once the story is written, freely and fully, can I start to polish (and polish, and polish) it…

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