Monday, January 22, 2007

The hardest part is starting...or why Zoe had to be punished:

So, as cosmic punishment for being so flip about writer suffering the other day...I had a bad writing day. Well it didn't end up bad, but it was a struggle. It's because the hardest part sometimes is starting.

I love those days when I can just get out of bed, sit down, not check email, just dive into the story, write my words and go on. Those days are shining beacons of hope and wonder. They are epic. Usually I procrastinate a little first. I check my email, shower, eat something blah blah blah.

Yesterday I REALLY procrastinated. I spent several hours whining about how I didn't want to write. I DID want to write, I just didn't want to write it "wrong." Despite my preaching about the "crap draft" I too have sinned. (yeah, I know that wasn't a big revelation to you all.)

When I finally stopped fussing over the plot (which is important, granted) and sat down to write my words it took me about an hour to get 889 done. ALL that build up...ALL that fuss. I could have just sat down and written.

I realize I build up too much performance anxiety before hand by expecting to write something "great" or even "not craptastic" the first time out of the gate with any novel. No wonder alcohol is the classical writer's drug of choice. It lowers inhibitions so you can perform. It's like the viagra of writing. Since I don't intend to take up drinking, I have to deal with this another way.

Maybe that's the problem. "Performing." When we write with our eye on publication we tend to start thinking in terms of "what the market will bear" and while that's certainly a concern, possibly the ROUGH draft isn't the place to deal with it. There's this lovely and wonderful phase of writing called the rewrite. I should embrace it.

I'm revising one novel while starting the rough draft on the another. The last novel, the rough draft was easy. Why? Because I wasn't trying to write something "great." This one though is darker, has deeper themes, has the potential to be something psychologically gripping. It also has the potential to never be written.

I'm spending too much time worried about if this will be publishable. I feel like I need to write this particular novel to stretch myself and see what I can write. It isn't paranormal romance, my normal fare, it's just an idea I got. I feel like I need to write it to have the experience of writing it. That somehow it will enrich my writing in some measurable way over the long haul even if it never sees the light of day.

So...yeah. That's where I am right now, trying not to perform. Just sitting down, writing the words and not caring if they're shit. I can fix it in the rewrite. If I don't have that attitude, I won't GET to the rewrite.


Liz Kreger said...

We all have some bad days, Zoe. You gotta cut yourself some slack once in awhile. LOL.

But I do know what you mean. Personally, I'd rather mull and then write something fairly decent (i.e., revisable) than to write a bunch of crapola. I've been fortunate that I don't usually have to totally scrap pages and pages of work. I hear other authors doing that and wonder if I'm doing something wrong. I think I tend to see the scene in my head and am then able to write it with some semblence of polish.

Zoe Winters said...

Yeah Liz, different people work different ways and there are certainly "levels" to the crap draft from the practically illegible to the "just needs a polish" I think a good logistical plan/outline can help with that. And also, the more first drafts you write, the cleaner they tend to get. :)

Zoe Winters said...

Also, I'm not really beating myself up so much as I really prefer to just sit down and write the crap draft, rather than procrastinating for hours on end lol.

Dorothy said...

Zoe, I have those kind of days all the time. I'm waiting for my muse to come back from vacation...she stranded me so I'm playing around in email and visiting websites while she's gone. Hopefully, when she returns, she'll know where all these characters and plots within are going. Guess it's time to call it a night...if the muse comes home, unlock the door for me, will you? ;o)

Zoe Winters said...

hehe Dorothy. You know of course, now I'm going to have to write a blog post at some point about how I don't believe in the muse. ;) It's a particularly annoying rant of mine. muahahahahahaha. YOU YOU have brought on the suffering of many! hehe ;) Thanks for coming by and commenting :)

spyscribbler said...

Hah! That's funny! I don't write posts anymore on the variations of 'just write,' because then the universe feels it necessary to remind me just how hard that can be sometimes.

I take myself out of the house to write. No phone, no business, no email, no blogs, no internet. Nothing left to do but sit and write. :-) I never said I had great willpower, LOL.

Edie said...

I'm procastinating right now, lol. The scene I'm going to write is deep, very emotion tugging. I'm taking some of it from my own life. I'll writ it, but it's scary.

Zoe Winters said...

Spy, lol, well I am a masochist sometimes. ;)

You'll do it Edie! :)