Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pushing forward

For years....3 to be exact, I have struggled with writing a book. Just totally struggled. I have had all the fire in the world at work, leaped buildings in a single bound to get home and then NOTHING would come. I forced myself to write anyway. I was making myself sit down and type. Eventually, I excused myself from the torture and just went back to reading. My number one excuse being that my wrists and arms hurt. But even when they didn't I would find something else to excuse it away.I would process things while knitting or crocheting, but that still was not putting pen to paper. I figured I was nourishing myself, feeding my brain with  inspiration, concepts, and imaginary play things. I would become bitter when someone told me they stayed up all night writing and then would look at me like I am crazy when I say I wish I could do that, but I have to get up at 3am. So on and off I wrote. But only when the fire was under me and my heart was wild with a scene. Truth is it was/ is part of the process. I spent more time blaming work for making me exhausted. I spent more time blaming my husband for "not pitching in." He was and still is, but since I wasn't getting what I wanted after trying so damned hard I was angry. Angry at myself, but not wanting to see that.

About 2 months ago I read an interesting idea....some authors outline their entire stories before they sit down to write. It is not a new idea by any means. I must have read it a million times in all the writing books I have read over the years.  Not having been an outliner in college (even in graduate school) I wasn't sure what this would do for me, but I knew sure as hell that I was not going to get anywhere just spitting out disjointed scenes. Some authors can do that, but it just wasn't working for me. I bought a wire bound notebook and promised myself and my story that I would fill it, all 180 pages, with notes about the world my imaginary characters were inhabiting. I am still working on it and loving it. Many many colored inks, scribbles, doodles, single words or sentences written in the margins. It feels and looks creative and so it keeps me going. I can say it looks like an anthropologists field guide to a new and interesting swath of land! I even have my colored pencils and sketch pad ready for a map. I can say that it is NOT what I thought it would be when I first started and I am comfortable with the adjustment I really can see these things I am writing and the deeper I get the more excited I get. So even as exhausting as work is I can still come home and write it down.  So a few lessons learned: If I type it up.... its gone, never to be thought on again. So not until I am ready. Not until I am totally solid on what I am writing will I do that. I also ban the single scenes for the time being. I now color code my notes and then when a particular idea is ripe I pluck it, re-write it and place it in the binder of loose leaf paper. These things then get organized and color coded.

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