My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Embrace the Messy (Personal Update)

Image description: Author looking just a little too enthusiastic.
Really Rough Draft  

Raw unfettered shit- 60, 203 (Last update 58,227) [Just this update- 1976]     

Slightly polished turd- 34, 809 (Last week 34,809)  [Just this week- 0] 

*Reminder slightly polished turd is usually soft revision I've done to help jump start me into the next day's writing. It's no where close to a second draft, but it's a bit more polished than my raw copy. But a blank page is a hard start.

Looks pretty awful, doesn't it? Like maybe I should have stopped having groupie threesomes for at least a minute and gotten some work done.

It's strange because it's probably one of the best weeks I've had since I started writing this particular story and up there in terms of creative euphoria in general. But let me get into that below.

Personal Update

I got back from L.A. early in the week. There was talk of staying an extra day to go to Disneyland but the crowds had been hellish on Monday–seriously the worst I've ever seen them in 32 years of going an average of two or three times a year. Somehow they figured out how to get so many people inside that the only magic was evil eldritch horror from beyond the plain of suffering.

I also really wanted to get back and write. My plan to go down there, lock myself in a room and write for hours ended up up looking a lot more like grabbing a couple of hours of catch as catch can. I'm not sure how to make that work in the future. Maybe just skip the trip until/unless it is crystal clear that some writing time is non-negotiable.

Pushing outward from my writing time has been difficult lately.  Well actually, that's generally always been true for my entire life. But being on my own has afforded a few unique challenges surrounding it as I worry that if I tell people I can't do things they will never bother inviting me again and I'll die alone. Because obviously that's exactly how things work and what would happen .

After that the week was really busy. Sonic Gal is having her crime fighting time audited (to make sure she's not wasting time) and since she comparably lives about a normal day every fifteen minutes that pass for normals, it's an involved process. I tagged in a lot more with The Contrarian after we got back.

Book Update

Still, I got a lot of good work done, which...I know is not as easy to see based on my word counts. The long and short of it was that I wrote myself into a corner in a scene that wasn't really working at all, and I recognized that I needed to back up and figure out what, if anything, that scene was doing so that I could do it in another way. I started hitting backspace, and didn't stop until I was back to a point before things had gone screwball. If I were strictly doing NaNo, I would still count the 15,000 or so words I cut (because you don't edit during Nano and you count your mistakes, even if they're 20 pages or so), but in terms of novel progress, it clearly doesn't "count."

And yet, I learned something about my main character and his parents in that tangent that is going to game change the arc of his development, I figured out at least three breakthroughs and two other things that were not 100% gelled and have seen a bridge from "here" to "there" in one of my plot points that is going to work really well. I'm humming from the weekend, flying on an artists high, and my heart is pounding. My worst-ever word count week has probably been my best weekend since I decided to write this book and I am FLYING. In terms of work that will make this better, it's probably my best week.

Don't be afraid to scrap the words just because they're yours. (That first draft isn't as brilliant as you think it is anyway.) Don't be afraid to kill your darlings. Don't be afraid to scrap that scene that isn't working. And for The Muse's sake, don't get so attached to your word counts or your page progress that you won't just crumple up a few pages and go back.

This is how it is supposed to be. Divest yourself of the idea that you're going to sit down and write a book from beginning to end; it never works that way. You're going to cut scenes, maybe even characters, and it's going to be a horrible bloody mess. Roll your sleeves up and dig in for some field medic surgery.

Art is messy.

Bring a smock.


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