This writing gig is not getting easier. I have flashes of brilliance where the words just flow like wine, but for the most part, it’s torture getting the idea in my head down on paper and trying to describe the scene I can picture clearly in my imagination. When I think I’ve gotten it done, a read through shows that a huge amount of detail is missing and I have to go back and try to layer it in.
There are times when I just write the dialogue between characters, just to get the story moving, but then I have to go back and create the context for the conversation. Going backwards is tedious and soul-sucking, and you feel like you are in a riptide: constantly swimming towards shore and never getting any closer.
I’m assured that this is normal, and that very few people write in a linear fashion, from start to finish. One frequently has specific scenes that will tie the story together, and it’s not unusual to focus on those scenes, then flesh out the rest of the tale. I started out linear – I wrote my first four chapters this way, then got mired down. I jumped to my plot point scenes and wrote them, then went back and started stitching it all together.
I’m also assured, not just by my writing partners, but by anyone who has ever written a book, that despair and dismay are a part of the process. Being convinced that you’ve written drivel, that you are failing your writing partners, or editors,
I still haven’t gotten a finished product to my writing partners. I’ve got to finish my stiches on the second half. To be truthful, I had it nearly done, and lost my work. It’s somewhere in the cloud I think but I can’t get my work back. So, another trip backwards is required. It shouldn’t take this long. They’ve seen the first half and gave me their edits and suggestions, and now I’m going back and re-writing it, which trying to place my pieces in the correct order on the second half and making sure it’s not just random scenes with no rhyme or reason.
The thing I’ve learned is that ideas are easy to come up with. Even creating the world and the characters is easy. I have a talent for it. But telling the story? That’s a craft and it’s one that’s difficult to grasp and hold. It requires dedication, and will, and practice. I’m determined to master it, but it’s obvious that I’m going to need to work much harder if I want to move forward.
Life gets in the way. When your craft is something you do as a hobby, or in your spare time, it’s way to easy to get distracted. This last year has been a bitch, on a personal level, and I’ve let my woes wear me down. it’s hard to be creative when all you can think about is what’s going wrong and trying to come up with ways to deal with it. But like anything, you have a choice: you can drown under the weight of your problems – real and imagined, or you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and start climbing.
Well, it’s time for me to start climbing!
James says: Mickie encapsulates the life of a writer pretty well. It’s a form of emotional and psychological masochism that we voluntarily engage in. Well, voluntary as in we don’t have a choice once an idea gets hold of our brains. It is, as Mickie says, easy to come up with ideas, worlds, and characters. Writing an actual story is harder than nine kinds of hell! And, yet, it is one of the things I enjoy most in the world. And I think most writers feel that way about it. Which means we could probably all go in together and get a discount for group therapy. Although, honestly, knowing how the three of us operate, I’m fairly sure the therapy group would just end up with a new collaborative series to work on.
Sid says: LOL – what James said! Definitely sure we’d end up with a new project; after all, that’s close to how this one got started!
Now for the serious bit: writing is hard, and not everyone can do it, though everyone thinks they can. Writing is even harder when the world is going up in flames around you. Everyone – from people who write fanfic* as a hobby to people who make their living writing – have talked about how hard writing has been this year. Doing anything creative while the world burns seems like a waste.
But it isn’t. Art is rebellion, especially art that is inclusive when the world seems bent on being exclusionary.
Art is easy when everything is groovy. Making art when everything is falling apart takes courage. Not everyone has that courage. So, it’s no bad thing to let people see just how hard it can be.
*Fanfic is a whole ‘nother beast and should never be disparaged as “not real writing”. It takes skill and dedication to make your work meld seamlessly into a world you didn’t create.