Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Waiting for the Rain

Last night I sat at my computer with seven word documents open: 2 chapters from draft 7,352; 2 free-writing documents to help with characterization; and 3 "new" chapters that I decided to try and blind-rewrite based on a suggestion from Alan Rinzler's blog (disclaimer: not from Alan Rinzler himself).  Normally this isn't a huge deal.  I don't have a problem hopping between .doc's, though I try to work on one as consistently as possible... or I can't move away from it because the juices are just flowing and maybe it's crap but I can't stop it.  However you'd like to describe it is fine.

But last night?  Not so much.  I stared at the doc entitled "Marcus" for 20 minutes, and then checked my email.  After responding to a message from July 16 and spending 30 minutes correcting a translation from a non-native-English-speaking friend, I decided not to go back to "Marcus" (he's laid back enough that he didn't complain).  I hopped over to "new chap 1-1" and read through what I already had.  I know—sort of—what I have to do next in chap 1, but somehow there were no words.  Skip over to "new chap 1.5-1".  I thought I'd had a decent idea on how to introduce all of my alternative US history, and as I started into it I couldn't help thinking about how lame it was, how it would just come off to the reader as me—not the characters, not even the narrator—trying to fill them in on how this land wasn't exactly the same land made for you and me.  Break.  "new chap 2-1".  Same thing.  "new chap 7"...

So I stopped forcing it.  We watched TV.  Well, I frequently "watch" TV and write at the same time, but I actually closed the computer.  That's pretty rare for me these days.  But there was no new email, no new blog posts, and I'm honestly getting kind of bored with FB at the moment.  So, closed.  Asleep.  To dream...

So this morning?  Well, I try not to get the creative side of my brain firing before I have to spend 4 hours learning about something completely unrelated.  Normally I'm reading other people's blogs and writing my own (ta da!).

The bottom line is, I think the soil's dry.  The plants aren't dead, but they just can't grow any more fruit.  I need a good, hardy rain.  But I'm impatient—a good, strong product of the American media insanity.  I don't like waiting for things.  Oh, and did I mention the perfectionism?...

So, I'm giving myself a prescription:

1) Take a break!  I'm closing word officially until next Friday.  If I have ideas, I have a notebook and I can write by hand.  (I hate writing by hand because I get excited and then I can't read my handwriting later on, which is a lot harder to deal with than typos from flying fingers.)  I should try not to write anything huge for the whole week, and see what happens.

2) Read more!  I'm currently in the middle of Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto—a collection of short stories that are beautiful, but there's no cliff-hanger ending to get me back into it.  I also have I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder and Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto sitting on the shelf from the library, whose covers have yet to be turned.  And, as is visible from yesterday's post, I'm now in the Eat Pray Love book club.

I think this decision was made for me.

3) Clear my mind!  I need to make my way through Clearing the Mind for Creativity by John Kao.  This book had been free from Amazon for the Kindle a few weeks ago, although apparently it's not anymore (but it's only $2.39).  I don't have a Kindle, but there's a free Kindle app for Mac OS X.  I've had Kao's book open for close to a week now, and I don't think I'm past page 3.  So much for clearing the mind.

I'll still be online, reading and blogging, etc., but Word is hereby closed until further notice.

Oh!  I just quit the app, and my stomach flipped.  Maybe it's because I haven't eaten breakfast yet...?

Wish me luck!


Cruella Collett said...

I got redirected here from Jan's blog, and I'm so glad I did because I loved that post above. Not glad that you're struggling, of course, but that you are taking measures to cope with it. I am exactly at that dry patch myself - not with my WiP per se, but with my Master's Thesis which is what I am trying to get out of the way so that I can focus on greater things. I am approaching a deadline. Normally when I do that I force myself to sit down and actually work. I will procrastinate, but I never give up. This time it feels as though I have given up. I know that I am hopelessly, dreadfully sick of the stupid thesis. I probably need a break like the one you describe.
I will have to try to meet my upcoming deadline, but once that is done I will follow your example and take some time off. Completely off. Not even worrying about it.
At least that is the plan.

Good luck! :)

Jan Morrison said...

and this makes three of us strolling through the desert.I'm blogging when I need to be revising, I'm vacuuming, I'm making strawberry shortcake and I'm meeting the Queen. I ain't revising though. Now I'll get to it. right now.
oh - come on over and pickup an award you! Not Crazy Jane - Living the Complicated Simple Life.

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