Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Importance of Writing Shit

I'm half asleep, and after a day of writing my fingers off, I have no idea why I have the compulsion to blog. Maybe because I imagine that I'm kicking back and talking with friends. Or some have pointed out that those of us in professions where we sit and don't talk have a tendency to chatter inanely once they get an audience.

Anyway, some people get writer's block. Some days, I choose not to believe in it. Other days, I growl at it and snarl at it until it goes away. Whatever causes it, I've managed to keep it at bay.

Everybody has to find their own way, but here's how I do it:

1) An object in motion stays in motion: I keep typing, no matter what. If I can't write a page, then I write a paragraph. If I can't write a paragraph, I write sentences. If that doesn't work, then I start writing words that I know I'm going to use, but not in sentence form. There are days when I literally have to shove the writing out, one damn letter by one damn letter.

2) I use fear. I have an unhealthy and irrational fear of going broke. I don't know why, and I don't know where it came from. But I use it to get my fingers typing as fast as I can. Amazing what you can get done when you fear something greater than the thing you're resisting.

3) I skeleton. Sometimes I can see what's happening, but my brain is just not gonna write in sentences, no matter how hard I try. And I can forget about flowing, beautiful sentences. I watch in my head, and take notes. Then I go back, add a detail or two, here or there. I keep going through it, until I (Eureka!) manage a whole sentence here or there. And then I go through again, and start to manage paragraphs! It just keeps ballooning!

4) I never succumb. I type. I embrace the knowledge that I'm typing shit. You know what? The next morning, it's not only EASY to clean up the shit, it's FUN! I can play with what I've written, re-arrange it, and dress it up!

I just can't sit around and wait for inspiration, because it's too fickle for my pocketbook. How do you guys keep writer's block away?

3 bonus scribbles:

Mark 12/22/2006 09:04:00 AM  

Hey,
Don't forget to send me your address!

Mark Terry

Kate S 12/22/2006 03:05:00 PM  

Great blog, thanks. :)

Unfortunately, I can't tell you how I keep writer's block at bay, because I suffered from it for about the past two months.

However, I did recently break through using many of the techniques you just described. I told myself to JUST WRITE. It doesn't matter if it's good...it doesn't matter if you'll use it...it doesn't even have to be about this story - just do it!

Several days ago, I also just wrote down words that I could use in a sentence some day - not even a whole sentence, just words. It must have worked. Last night, I finished the story I'd been stuck on for several weeks using some of those words.

Maybe it's our subconscious tossing out bits that our conscious mind isn't quite ready to work into a whole, for whatever reason. I think for me, stress (of several types) kept me distracted, resulting in the block. Fortunately, my mind sent out bite-sized bits that I could later use to make a meal, so now I don't look at that time as wasted. :)