Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Write Now; Cull Later

Since my last blog, writing has gone something like this: I'm writing! The pages are scrolling up; the rewrites are getting done; the project has taken on that organic feeling that comes when you work at it every day. I'm not even worried about whether it's good or not which is precisely why things are getting done. What stinks can be decided later. That's what the 100 million rewrites are for. 
Nothing can slow a story down like the Premature appearance of the Editor, or PE. That mini dopplegänger standing on one shoulder whispering wait, you can write that better; do you really want him to do that and her to respond that way? Should the wind really keep blowing south by southwest? (Of course, there are other things that can slow the story down, but I talked about that in my previous post.) 
For every one paragraph that is written, immediately read/critiqued and rewritten, four more could have been hammered out. Whatever, two of the four might not make it through tomorrow's refresher read, but at least you're that much further along in getting that big lump of ideas, actions, side-plots, character arcs, what ifs? out of your head and into times new roman.
That lump is going to get whittled down and kneaded soon enough. Let the PE in at the start and you'll do very well in publishing pamphlets. Let the story spout like a geyser and you'll have a completed work on your hands before you know it. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

One Less Lament

Writing has gone something like this the last few months: Sit down. Open laptop. Open work-in-progress. Stare at work-in-progress. Write a sentence or two. Rewrite a sentence or two. Hit the Safari tab. Get lost online sending out resumes, checking Facebook, clicking through news sites, checking email, checking blogs (and lamenting how long its been since I've made an entry), rinse, soap, repeat. Hence, my progress has been rather dismal. 
Then comes the guilt. I have the time, why am I not being more productive? I'm waaaayyyy behind publication schedule for Book II of the Whirlwomen Trilogy--am I ever going to get it to market? Will my readers even care when I do? Will this project end up on my closet shelf with the other half dozen that are in various states of incompletion?
It's not a productive cycle. Nor is it any good for my writing esteem. 
The thing is, nothing is moving along productively in my life right not. My income has been drastically reduced for an extended period. Contract work has been inconsistent and finding a new job elusive. The embarrassment around my finances has me avoiding social interactions and isolating. Constantly being on the verge of panic does not support the creative process. 
You hear the stories of writers being on the edge of total ruin just prior to their breakout novel being published. It makes good publicity fodder and has probably contributed to one or two writers actually choosing to suffer as part of their craft, but that just doesn't seem to work for me. I don't like to suffer. I don't like high-anxiety. I like comfort and stability. I've convinced myself that anything else scares my characters away, stifles my stories. 
But things are what they are for now. It'll be a shame to look back on this period and realize I had so much time to write and didn't. My favorite yoga teacher often says during more challenging postures: "It's just a situation. Situations are temporary. Don't let the situation take you out." It's much easier said then done, but those really are words to live by. Each time I let "the situation" immobilize me creatively, I'm telling myself I'm not really a writer. Why? Because writers write. No matter what.  
So once again, I'm in front of my computer. After I finish this blog, which is more of a mental dump then constructive, informative reading (sorry), I'm going to get back to work on "Flicker". I may not be that productive, my characters may still be in comas, but at least I'll be back in the game, have one less lament. Like a good day on the yoga mat, a few pages on the computer screen reminds me that pushing through the discomfort oftentimes leads to nirvana.