Too easy?

We have a mythology that tells us that writing is a torturous activity.

Believing that, we don’t even try it or, if we do, and we find it unexpectedly easy,

we stop, freeze up, and tell ourselves that whatever we are doing,

it can’t be “real” writing.

~Julia Cameron

The path... (3327236923)

Writing my novel (Raising Trouble) brought this phenomenon to life for me. I enjoyed writing the book. Loved it. Not every single word every single day but overall it was a great experience and a lot of fun. I didn’t feel like I was “missing out” on other stuff, like watching movies or tv. I was excited to be writing. And when I let myself write, instead of thinking about writing, it was easy.

Too easy. I was convinced, still secretly feel inside, that anything which flowed that easily cannot possibly be anything worth reading. That if the words come out without any trouble than they are no good. Never mind that my favorite art in the world is made up on the spot. Never mind that the speech I gave that got the best feedback of all was the one I dashed off a couple of hours beforehand. Never mind that the piece of writing which moved more people than any other piece I’ve ever written was finished and edited in one go, late at night. Yes- let’s forget all of that and assume that if something comes quick and easy it is worthless.

Not that there isn’t a place for editing and hard work to make something the best it can be before it goes into the world. I’m not talking about sloppiness. But rather the feeling that if it isn’t painful in can’t be good. That if I’m enjoying the process I must be messing it up somehow.

I’m trying to relax and trust that even if it feels too easy, and doesn’t take a lot of time, it still has a chance of being good. Or of being terrible. But whether it’s good or bad had nothing to do with how easily it flowed out.

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Recap: Week 5

***Not posted last night due to a lack of internet.***

This was a week of both great and terrible days. I had two days where I wrote almost nothing. At all. I was visiting my sister and instead of writing after she went to bed I lay on the couch and watched TV. Great TV, saw the premier of Defiance. That’s a show I’d like to see more of in the future. Terrible for my writing.

On the other hand, I had several days where I cross 4,000 in a day with seemingly little effort. Interestingly enough, it was after not writing for a few days. Maybe there is a key in that that will help me figure out my own pattern? Maybe instead of trying to write 2,800 words every day I would do better to write 3,800 five days a week and take a couple of days off? Something to experiment with as the year progresses.

Here are my totals this week–

 

  • Journal 2,260
  • Fae 8,287
  • MPs 4,860
  • Total 15,407
  • YTD 76,109
  • Where I should be 95,900*

*Last week’s “where I should be” had a math error in it, and I was actually much further behind than I thought. Encouraging news, that was.

Recap: Week 4

This week is more of the same. “I’m behind, I’ll catch up, blahblahblah…”. Still true. And I made some progress this week so it’s looking better.

Four weeks. That’s a lot of typing. I mean, not in comparison to how long I have left, but a month is nothing to sneeze at either. Not at this pace. I’m turning out short stories and blog posts like never before. Didn’t post here this week because I forgot, but I have posts waiting.

Started doing Morning Pages again this week. It’s an easy way to add words, almost 1,000 a day, and I have found them to be immensely helpful in the past. Something about dumping words out first thing, no matter what they are, gets them flowing for the rest of the day.

If you aren’t familiar with the idea of Morning Pages you can read almost any of Julia Cameron’s books and get the full scoop, the most thorough being in “The Artist’s Way”. Basically, you sit down every morning, first thing, and write three legal pad pages of words as fast as you can. Don’t think, don’t edit, don’t try to make sense. If it’s something like, “I need to buy eggs. Call Amber. Oh, the new manager at work is a jerk, and I’ve got to buy that shirt before we run out. I could write about improv next week.” then you’re doing it right. Or it can be connected. Or fiction. It doesn’t matter. Just do it fast and don’t think about it. I get a lot of blog posts around the end of page two, as things I’m thinking about finally make it onto the page.

 

Here are my totals this week–

 

  • Journal 1,988
  • Blog 313
  • Letters 675
  • Fae 7,144
  • MPs 6,804
  • Total 16,924

 

  • YTD 60,702
  • Where I should be 69,160

Recap: Week Three

I feel like all I do right now is write, yet I’m not keeping up. It’s frustrating. I know from doing NaNoWriMo that the third week is a hard week for me, harder than two. It’s the week where I always want to throw in the towel So, in that regard, it makes sense that I would be frustrated right now. On the other hand, I’m not even 1/12 of the way through yet. My “week three” isn’t until September. Technically. However, by then it should be a habit. If not I’m going to be crying.

All that to say, I didn’t catch-up. I didn’t even come close. In fact, for the first time since starting I skipped a day. Didn’t even journal, which is very rare for me. It was nice, my fingers appreciated the break. My totals did not. I am going to catch-up, I really am. It’s just going to take a little longer than I originally thought.

I’m doing some writing that I’m not counting just yet, it’ll show up later. I’m doing an edit on Raising Trouble but it’s on paper so I won’t count those words until I type them into the electronic copy. Get a boost those days. Which I’ll need, since my typing time will be used me entering them. Mon Dieu! Good thing I didn’t fully realize what I was doing when I started.

Here are my totals this week–

  • Journal 1,920
  • Blog 814
  • Letters 95
  • Fae* 10,100
  • Total 12,929
  • YTD 43,778
  • Where I should be 51,870

*Fae is a “short story” I wrote one and a half pages of years ago and ever since I’ve been trying to finish it. I never like the result. I love the beginning and nothing goes with it. Trying again. Twice this week, actually. First time didn’t work. Second is still up in the air. I will figure out this story someday.

 

Grabbing Onto Mistakes

I was doing a scene with a guy once (I think in a pre-show warm-up) and he said he was headed off to the job. Then, probably remembering our teacher’s weekly admonishments that “specificity is key” he immediately added factory. It created a slight bobble in his speech, a mistake.

“Honey, I’m headed off to the job. Uh, factory.”

I can remember the moment very clearly. One of those moments that cemented itself into my mind. I had a second of indecision, a second of wavering. Should I call out the mistake or let it go? I probably hesitated too long but at any rate, I choose to risk being a jerk, snatched the opportunity, and said, “The job factory!”

Falcon

I remember he gave me a look and I felt like I was still on that edge of jerkiness, but from there I had this idea to keep going, mentioning how great it was that he had such stable employment these days, since jobs were in steady demand.

It turned into a fun scene. Enough that I can still remember it a year later. And it tagged out to another scene set at the factory.

I’ve heard people say that everything in a scene is a gift, there aren’t any mistakes. Use it all. On the flip, I’ve seen people (mostly in jams) be real pains and make a big deal out of someone making a blunder in their speech, clearly using it as a weapon. I don’t want to be an ass, but I also don’t want to miss great opportunities to make interesting scenes by glossing over things.

Maybe it comes back to attitude/intent? Am I pouncing on the weird/interesting/wrong thing you said or did because I know it leads to new and fun things? Or am I doing it to try to make you look bad and/or me look smart? Is my goal to build something with you, or it it to make sure I come out on top?

Recap: Week Two

So far behind!!!

*runs screaming*

Actually, I’m OK. Yes, I am behind. More behind than last week. But I have written every day, and some days I did make up ground. Readjusting to this much writing has been difficult, and between work and volunteering and a large knitting project I’m finding time to be in short supply.

Of course, that’s a big part of why I’m doing this. To learn to make priorities priorities, instead of pushing them aside for the urgent and the now and the easy. That doesn’t make the words come out though.

Another priority that I don’t have time for is getting into shape. Which is why I’m joining the gym tomorrow. It’s on my way home from work, open 24 hours. No excuses. I don’t even have to go on my days off, just on my way home the five days a week I work. I keep putting off running and losing weight because I don’t have time, I’ll do it later. Well, later is here and I still don’t have time. Just going to have to do it anyway.

That seems to be the way it works.

 

Here are my totals this week–

  • Journal 2,593
  • Blog 2,279
  • Letters 1,278
  • Odd Town* 8,939
  • R&B** 1,051
  • Total 16,791
  • YTD 30,849
  • Where I should be 34,580

 

*Odd Town is a fan fiction story I started LONG ago and abandoned, half posted on the site. I still get almost weekly favorites and followers on it. I have no idea why they are so optimistic that I’ll finish it but I’ve decided to, just because of their persistence. Besides, I’ve found fan fiction to be a rewarding form of writing, with the advantage of immediate feedback.

**R&B is the working title for a short story I am working on that is set in NOLA.

I’m going to be reprinting Raising Trouble (my novel) on Thursday when I go over into the city. That will let me start the next round of edits. I’m also going to start editing my novella (temp/possible title Midterms) in the next week or two, I finished the first draft last week. My goal is to get both of those out to some readers the first week of May.

On that note, would you like to be an early reader on either project? If so, comment here and I’ll get the details to you.

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