Monday, November 9, 2009

Learning to Write

So, at the end of last week, after an inspriring beginning I found myself slowing down a bit.  Last Friday, specifically, I choked out only 900 words (i've been averging at least 1,500 a day) and seriously thought of just skipping to the part of the plot I had in mind.  It wasn't a firm stuck point- I got my daily quota in, technically.  But I just wasn't feeling it.  I was writing words for the sake of the word count, not because they were moving me forward plot wise.

With a good night's sleep and a fresh idea that came to me as I was waking up the next morning (which, come to think of it, seems to be when most of my ideas occur) I pushed through and got to a point where the story flowed again.  Now, i'm actually- gasp!- starting to like it.  I'm still not at the point of the plot where the story began in the role-play, but i'm closer than i've ever been to incorporating the characters I knew and the very vague plot points I remember into the story arc.  And for the first time in... longer than I can remember, honestly- i'm enjoying the process of writing.

Now, some of you who haven't heard me bitch about writing may think "Wait, you're just starting to like writing?  Then why'd you start writing in the first place?"  The answer: because my writing Yoda recomeneded it.  And my playwriting professor in college recomended it.  And my literary teacher in high school recomended it.  And everyone i've ever known who knew the first thing about writing told me the same thing: if you want to be good, you have to practice.  It's that same old Carnegie Hall joke coming to bite me in the ass.

When I started this blog, I still hated writing.  And as you can see, that hatred kept me from doing it as often as I knew I was supposed to.  Partly because i'm so self critical that I usually can't write a single sentence without concluding that it's too stupid, poorly described, boring, un-funny or just plain bad to keep writing.  And parlty because the idea of allowing myself to show any of my work, labeled with all of those adjectives, to another person was a nightmare. 

Now, 8 full days into writing an actual novel at a faster pace than i've ever dreamed, i'm starting to be able to let all that crazy head-case stuff go and actually just write.  To let my character be whetever he's going to be without concluding that it's stupid.  To let my plot change shape and grow without trying to make it fit some idea of what I think it's supposed to be.  To enjoy the random sentences or scenes that I really like, without worrying if they're too dramatic or not as funny as I think they are.  To just fucking write.

I'm sure a big part of it is the word count looming over my head.  50,000 words is a lot and it goes a long way in stopping that reflexive need to erase what I think is crappy.  If that crappy sentence or scene just got me 35 words closer to that huge goal i'm keepin' it!  And a lot of it is the fact that I really, really want to complete this thing.  I actually like this story.  I don't know if anyone else will, but I do.

My writing Yoda said writing is best pursued by asking yourself what you want to read.  I've liked reading about Factin.  And i've discovered something absolutely wonderful and arguably even magic about writing: I make it happen.  If I want something funny to happen, I can write it, and it happens.  If I think someone should say this or do that, they say it or do it.  If I really want to see some creepy looking pig man the size of an ogre chasing a little goat around a tiny room in a tavern then guess what?  That pig faced ogre man is gonna chase that goat.  (And he did in the story.)  And I made it happen. 

And what's more is that those great stories that I would have loved to death if this didn't happen or that character didn't die or the whole world didn't implode on itself (Thank you, Douglas Adams!)- that's not gonna happen to my story!  If I don't want it to end that way, it's not gonna!  So there!

My point is that for the first time, maybe in my whole life, i'm enjoying sitting down and telling a story.  Who cares if anyone else thinks it's good?  I like it.  Silly, stupid, overdramatic, impossible, unintelligent and everything in between- it's my story, I can do whatever I please with it.  And i'm gonna.


  1. It sounds like you're on the verge of the first big writing epiphany. I'm very happy for you!


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