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Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 12:24 am
by CharleeVale
This is my blog post that is scheduled to go live tomorrow, but I wanted some discussion about it here.

"With July NaNo coming to a close, I'm finding it hard to finish the last 10,000 odd words that I need to complete the task. (Also get the first draft of this novel done) I keep asking myself why? I don't have writer's block! I know basically what I want to happen, I have all the time in the world at the moment, why can't I make myself write?

I think I've finally figured it out. I'll tell you why, but first I have to tell you a story.

--I just graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in theatre, and I start my master's degree in the fall. During a class in my last semester, on of my acting teacher introduced a concept to us called 'paper plates.' It was a film acting class, and as the program was a stage acting program, none of us had very much experience with it, and he didn't want any of us to get discouraged.

He told us the story of a classical pianist. He was incredibly talented, but he dreaded going into the recording studio. Every time he went he was nervous, and hated the pressure of getting the takes right. This particular day he went in to record, and in the studio next to him there was an R&B artist. He stopped to watch him record, and through the window, he could se such joy in the man. It was obvious that he loved what he was doing, and he was having the time of his life.

When the take ended he went in and asked the man. "You're having such a great time. What are you doing differently? How do you deal with the pressure?"

The R&B artist look at him and smiled. He said, "That's easy. I make my music from paper plates, you craft yours from china."--

The point being that the man's art is dispensable. He's not worrying about it, because he can always do it over. I've fallen into that insidious trap that so many writer's do--I think that the first draft has to be permanent. So, when I sit down to write, I subconsciously feel like it has to be perfect. No it doesn't! This is first draft! No wonder I'm having trouble getting the words out. No one needs that kind of pressure.

So take encouragement from this. Revisions are there for a reason. There's no pressure to be perfect. I don't know how I forgot that. There's always an endless supply of paper plates, so feel free to throw them away.

Now if you excuse me, I have to go win Camp NaNoWriMo."

I hope that this helps some people who are struggling with actually sitting down and writing!

CV

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 9:00 am
by Writecastlesinthesky
This is a nice debut blog post. Only problem is following it up again and again!

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 10:26 am
by Sommer Leigh
This is a great post and a pitfall I fall into over and over and over again. It is easy to sit down and think, "I can't write today because it's not going to be very good."

It is a terrible thought, a heavy thought, one that keeps you from doing anything. I try really hard to fight through this, but it is tough somedays. I have a pretty keen sense of when I'm sucking and I just hate going forward knowing how bad it reads. I know that you can always go back and fix what is broken but I have a tough time going forward knowing there's all this crap writing behind me.

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 11:08 am
by washingtonwriter1968
:arrow:
So take encouragement from this. Revisions are there for a reason. There's no pressure to be perfect. I don't know how I forgot that. There's always an endless supply of paper plates, so feel free to throw them away.
Stoped by on my way to write and glad I did :!:
Thank you! this is exactly what I needed to be reminded of :!: :!: :!: If you were close by I'd hug you :!: It's interesting that as soon as I decided that this work would be going out for publication and not be just a story I wrote for my own enjoyment things changed. More and more I started writing on china and less and less I wrote on paper plates.The result was I stared at a blank screen when before all I did was write.

Thanxs for the wonderful reminder.

And now Talley Hoe and onward to the WIP :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:; Charge !

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 11:24 am
by polymath
I aspired to make a set of lighthouse salt and pepper shakers. Stoneware seemed the ideal medium. From concept to product, though, seemed a daunting process. I didn't know if the end result would fit my vision, if the scale and proportions would reflect the actual lighthouse. The daymark was a geometric nightmare. Research and development took a longer time than implementation.

I started with paper models. Designed a cutout mandrel, like paper dolls. X diameters at base and top of the tower, the lantern, the railings, etc. Y heights, etc. The math was complex. Through multiple trial and error forays, I wound up with a functional paper model. Then the design of the daymark took multiple trial and error forays. Imagine creating spiralling lines on a cone and having to do it on a flat surface so that the lines look right once the cone is formed. For months of time stolen from everyday daily living activities, I beat my head against that one. I got it at last.

By that time I'd realized the daymark would have to be applied as a decal. The figurines would have to be slip cast. And there would be multiple kiln firings required. Meanwhile, the business where I'd planned on doing the firing had gone under.

Slip cast clay shrinks a bit from the actual mold plug size. Firing shinks greenware too. The end result would be a shade of the plug model's size. How much smaller? I had some figures to work from or I could just go ahead with the stoneware implementation and then see what dimensions to use for the decals.

I was fast approaching an ideal holiday gift-giving season shopping deadline. I couldn't wait. I did my best mathematical computations and arrived at a decal dimension. Off the artwork went to a decal maker.

Ordered a doll kiln of a size appropriate to the figurines. It runs on ordinary household current, 20 amps, 120 volts. It cost a pretty penny. I'd have to sell enough pottery ware to justify the expense.

Then on to making the plaster mold plug. Designed a plaster lathe for scraping out the shape while applying wet plaster to the mandrel core. A couple disasters, but a functional plug later and Barb's your aunt. Ordered the rubber plugs that go in the bottom and keep the spices from leaking out.

Then plaster mold making. Meanwhile, the kiln arrived, the assorted pottery materials and supplies came in, etc.

Casting day arrived. All went well and as planned. Bisqueware firing, glaze firing, all according to plan. The decals arrived. It was crunch time. Would they fit as designed based on some math and by Providence guesswork. Uh-huh. Precisely as planned.

From inception to product was six months' time. I sold quite a few salt and pepper shakers and stand-alone figurines, gave a bunch away as gifts, and still have all the materials for production. It fell out of production in favor of other projects. Writing, you know.

I did the paper model up as a PDF and posted it on the web. It got hits across the globe. Fans sent e-mails thanking me for doing it. Everyone and their kids wanted one thereabouts. I didn't make any money off the paper model. The satisfaction of approving acclaim was worth a pot of gold. All told to date cost-revenue-wise, the lighthouse figurines and salt and pepper shakers was a break even proposition. But, oh my, was it fun.

So from paper to pottery, I get the paper plate to china analogy's ramifications more than most anyone can know.
The paper model.
The paper model.
lightmodel.jpg (1.45 KiB) Viewed 2086 times

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 11:43 am
by dios4vida
Wonderful post, Charlee. As a writer who has to continually remind myself "Don't get it perfect, just get it written!" you were very inspiring. :)

And polymath, that lighthouse is amazing! You've once again wowed me with your myriad talents.

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 12:25 pm
by polymath
dios4vida wrote:And polymath, that lighthouse is amazing! You've once again wowed me with your myriad talents.
Thanks, dios4vida.

My thing is I believe everyone is born with the talents they need to do whatever their heart desires. Skills come about through indoctrination, training, persistence, and application; eventually, with practice and determination and not a little intuitive inspiration, perhaps external assistance, talents and skills become second nature.

I suppose if I have a special gift, it's a consequence of believing no especial talent is required beyond what is given to all naturally. Where the metal meets the road, though, is self-justifying resistance to developing innate talents and acquiring skills so they produce desirable results. Want it bad enough and have the heart to see it through despite freighter loads of internal and external resistance antagonisms then it may with Providence's favor come to fruition. Sometimes eating off the floor masterpieces; sometimes paper plate masterpieces; sometimes china masterpieces; sometimes precious gem encrusted, solid platinum masterpieces.

Re: Paper plates

Posted: July 28th, 2011, 1:04 pm
by JustAnotherJen
You make such a great point in this post, Charlee. I am a perfectionist by nature, and it creeps into my writing and causes problems from time to time. Way back in the day, I had no idea how to even finish a first draft because I'd always get hung up editing what I'd already written. But a few years ago I finally flipped some switch in my head and decided that it's okay if I write crap in the first draft (or second, or third...) because I can always fix it later. So now I focus on getting the story on paper. (Okay, onto the computer, actually.) I just want to get it down. And if comes out completely sloppy or disastrous, I try not to stress about it too much because I know I'll come back to it later and fix it. It's been really liberating for me to ignore the perfectionist in me (in this way) and I've gotten a LOT more writing done. Just like you said, revisions are there for a reason, so there's no pressure to be perfect. :)

Re: Paper plates

Posted: August 1st, 2011, 5:04 pm
by sierramcconnell
I loved this!

It's always okay to suck~! It's the adventure that counts~!

Re: Paper plates

Posted: August 2nd, 2011, 11:21 am
by MattLarkin
Thanks Charlee. It's a reminder I needed to. The epic in my head rarely matches what starts to come out in a first draft. It flows so beautifully in planning. But when I see the result, I need to remember it's supposed to be a fun process.

Re: Paper plates

Posted: August 2nd, 2011, 11:41 am
by dios4vida
sierramcconnell wrote:It's always okay to suck~! It's the adventure that counts~!
Anyone else seen the movie Keeping the Faith? "I love that I suck!"

(It's a great romantic comedy with Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, and Jenna Elfman. Ben Stiller's character is a rabbi and he's trying to coach a bar mitzvah student to sing without his voice cracking. It's really awesome.)

Re: Paper plates

Posted: August 2nd, 2011, 11:54 am
by sierramcconnell
dios4vida wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:It's always okay to suck~! It's the adventure that counts~!
Anyone else seen the movie Keeping the Faith? "I love that I suck!"

(It's a great romantic comedy with Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, and Jenna Elfman. Ben Stiller's character is a rabbi and he's trying to coach a bar mitzvah student to sing without his voice cracking. It's really awesome.)
OMG. I have! It's been forever, but I remember that. XD