Writing is like Kung Fu: often described by people who wish they did it better.
One of the biggest battles a writer fights is with their own will. What happens, I think, is a conflict between need and weariness. Writing takes a long time, and in spite of my forever need to write, I can see the long, tiring road that starts at my fingertips and inches into the future. The sight of it is a challenge, but it’s so very, very tiring.
I think a lot of us writers like to write about writing because it’s an easy way to scratch the itchiness that constitutes the framework that we build our personalities on. It’s better than submitting to writer’s block, even if it’s an ironic exercise. I can’t conjure the focus to work on my project, so I’ll spend a few hours telling other people how to focus better. It’s a satisfying hypocrisy, and I indulge in it professionally.
I wrote about a process I’ve been using with some success to step past writing and get work done. Here’s the thing I wrote…
Since writing this, I’ve finished a substantial manuscript and afterward slid into the painful mush of being between projects. Which, to be real, I never think of myself as being. When between projects, I’m working on projects. It’s a lifestyle choice. I get grumpy if I don’t at least write a few pages in my notebook. I think it has a similar function to dreaming for me. It keeps me at emotional equilibrium.
Upon finishing that substantial manuscript, I started writing pages and pages of notes about another story idea I’ve got. I had to find my way into the story, which is a whimsical way of figuring out a) the details of plot and character without which it wouldn’t have been a story, and b) whether I even like the story.
For the last week or so, that’s been most of my writing. Notebooking and coffee and loud music. I’m in a metal mood, I guess. I’m catching up on the history of metal. I always claim to be a metalhead, but there are a half dozen bands that I’ve never spent any familiar time with. I made a playlist to educate myself. It’s not a clever playlist, perhaps. It doesn’t have anyone you haven’t heard of, but it contains the most “essential” bands according to the metal scholars I know. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I’ve not spent much time listening to some of these bands…but I digress.
The goal with the notebooking was to worm my way into a new novel, sort of put some electricity into the process. I filled, like, a quarter of my notebook with world building and characters for a fantasy novel about lightning and rain and cowboys and Rube Goldberg machines. It’s going to be a good time.
Then, the day before yesterday, I felt an old familiarity: a pressure to start the manuscript.
The process is working.
Except that I started the wrong damned manuscript. Instead of starting the novel about the lightning and the Rube Goldberg machines, I started a manuscript that I did a hell of a lot of notebooking over a few months back. A quarter of my notebook’s full of the rainy cowboys and their lightning, and the prior quarter is about this OTHER project. The secret project. The one that’s, in part, about vampires.
So…success! No writer’s block.
But writing is like Kung Fu: I don’t understand how it’s like a river either, but it is.
Ragged Museum: Untidy Stories
Ragged Museum: Untidy Stories - Kindle edition by Blakemore, Oliver. Download it once and read it on your Kindle…