I’m not sure I have much to write that will make any sort of sense. All my words seem to be jumbled up these last few days. Too much going on. Not enough going on. I’m not entirely sure which is more accurate. Or more influential on this word-jumble-thing I’ve got going on.
But I have to write something because Christel said I should.
And she’s right.
Writers write. It’s what we do. Even if it doesn’t make sense when it comes out, we write it anyway with the hope that maybe it can be edited into submission later on.
I stole a quote off Neil Gaiman’s Twitter feed the other day that sums up where I am now: It’s such a tiny distance between cockiness and despair for a writer, based only on whether what you wrote that afternoon was any good.
Neil speaks truth. However, what he doesn’t mention is that an afternoon of crappy writing can easily bring a writer down for weeks. We’re delicate creatures. We’re easily distracted. We’re easily discouraged. We’re nearly impossible to deal with. It’s a wonder anything ever gets written, let alone published.
I’m lucky in that I have a network of friends who don’t seem to mind terribly when I show up unannounced and plant myself in their living rooms or kitchens or across the coffee shop table from them and don’t speak to them in full sentences while I’m trying to wrestle words onto the page in an order that might someday make sense to someone other than myself. And I’m especially lucky that some of them are writers themselves and they don’t seem to mind terribly when I ramble on and on about train schedules in Scotland or the Basilica in Minneapolis or any number of other obscure things I think I need to know about before I start the next chapter.
And when I decide to stop writing for a while, I’m lucky enough to have people like Christel who tell me I’m full of crap and that I’m wasting time and that I should just write something, ANYTHING.
So, back to writing. I did this dumb thing a couple weeks ago that put all the main characters from the two big pieces I’m working on in the same place at the same time and I have to figure out how to untwist them and get them back on their proper paths. I think I need a wall-sized cork board and about 300 index cards. And somewhere to put it. And maybe some highlighters. I’m pretty sure this is NOT how Neil does it.
June 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm
So are you a panster or a plotter? I’m thinking panster. Whatever. So am I. Maybe that’s MY problem? Maybe if I tried to outline first…..oh wait. I did. That outline is simply taking up space in my journal…
Unfortunately, writing is a job. Wishing I was lucky enough not to have to have a “real” job, so I could write all day?! A girl can dream…
Thanks for doing this! 🙂 I knew you could!
June 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm
Oh, I’m a pantser. Lifelong. I had a major realization a couple weeks ago about this very thing.
I grew up with the t.v. on and a grandmother who watched allllll the soaps. Consequently, I watched alllllll the soaps. And now I can never get to the end of a story. Because soaps NEVER END.
So, here I am with this monstrous story that also NEVER ENDS. This might be fine if you’re King or Martin or Eddings or Tolkein or any other established writer, but it just seems like asking for trouble to me. How do you pitch that? “I’ve got this thing. Here’s the first book.” “First book?” “Yeah. First of twelve.”
I told a friend about my basic story a while ago and he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Then I confessed that, while I think it might be a great story, I’m not sure I’m the one to write it. How do I get around that? Advice welcome.