The CreativeBug

I have this sudden urge to start drawing again. It’s not something I’m good at. In fact, I’m a TERRIBLE artist. But I have this urge, like an itch I can’t scratch, nonetheless.

Ok, WHY is “nonetheless” one word when it’s CLEARLY three words shoved together into a PHRASE?! ENGLISH, YOU ARE TERRIBLE!!!

But, seriously, I’d love to draw a comic about the daily life of a cashier at a convenience store, since the stories I have don’t always work in the written word.

Take, for example, the story of the abandoned hooker, or the guy who exploded in the bathroom, or, Hell, all the times I find poop on the walls…

Those stories don’t work as well in writing, but in graphic form…

Music as a soundtrack to a book

I don’t necessarily consider myself a fast reader.  I’m not exceedingly slow by any means, but I’m not a fast enough reader to understand why an author would post songs as a soundtrack to a book.

Music as a soundtrack for writing makes perfect sense to me, however.  I completely understand because I use music to set the mood.  Often times I find the tone of my writing changing in response to the tone of a song.  However, offering readers a song to listen to during a chapter confounds me.  It takes more than the roughly 3.5 minutes of a typical song to read a chapter, unless it’s so enormously short it could easily be likened to a car speeding past one’s house.

And while I will, occasionally, find myself liking a song to the extent I will listen to it on repeat, I don’t think I could ever like a song enough to listen to in the background, repeatedly, until I finished a chapter in a story, and then continue to do so with different songs throughout the remainder of a book.  That seems like insanity to me.

It works in movies because we aren’t having to spend long minutes reading the action taking place.  Rather, we are spending mere seconds watching the action as it occurs.

I must be a minority in this since there are entire blogs and such devoted to this.

^^I dare say, there appears to be a joke in that line somewhere.

On Finishing a Story

I follow #writingprompt on Twitter and found @toasted_cheese to be a good source of inspiration, even if it is mostly just making me want to write and never actually following the prompts.  Except for today.  If you head on over to the website you’ll discover there is a calendar of writing prompts.  I happened to skip ahead last month into the February prompts and read the one for today, and it didn’t really strike a chord in me.

This morning, however, when I went over to my TweetDeck window (which never seems to get closed anymore) and skimmed over the writing prompts, I discovered that I just couldn’t let it go.  Oh, I tried to let it go, reading my daily dose of comics and blogs, but it just kept nagging at me.  I started following even the most perfunctory of links in my friends feed to try and get my mind off of that prompt.

I failed miserable and wrote just shy of 450 words on it before getting so overly frustrated with it I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Someone said that meant I was doing it right.

Eventually I just closed that word processor window and continued to mill about online, still not having even touched my novel.  I couldn’t get this character I was writing about for some stupid prompt I wasn’t even interested in last week out of my head.

I sighed, exasperated, went outside, lit my cigarette, and paced.  It felt like I was obsessing over this new story that, in reality, meant nothing to me except for being a writing exercise to expand my skill as a writer.

Eventually I sat in my awesome smoking chair and closed my eyes, trying to get my mind off of the entire ordeal, ready to come inside and simply delete the entire file, when it happened.

There we were, both of us sitting at the bar, wallowing in whatever we were wallowing in: self-pity, shame, a lost job, an ended relationship.  I hadn’t been paying attention to anything around me, too busy trying to wash away my sorrow with the numbness brought on by my scotch, which was empty.  A disappointment.  I looked up hoping to catch the barkeeper’s attention, and saw her.  Whether it was merely the abruptness of my movement or she happened to be in need of a refill of the cure for the broken-hearted herself, I couldn’t be sure, but our eyes locked.

I raised the corner of my mouth in a half-hearted smile I knew couldn’t have possibly touched my eyes.  She returned my smile and even raised her hand in a half-hearted wave.  Suddenly everything was happening so quickly.

I grabbed my empty glass and went to her.  I said something.  She laughed.  And then suddenly, inexplicably we were kissing, her shirt on my living room floor, my pants around my ankles, and it was heaven…

Thankfully for the entire reading world that’s the end of that story.  And to save your imagination that didn’t actually happen (or did it?), but the point still stands: it was a sudden, gripping situation.  Suddenly, I had a completed story.  And entire work of flash fiction completed and saved, working title and all, on my hard drive.

How could this be?  How could I have gotten out of bed this morning, gone to my computer and not been able to think of anything to write for hours and then impetuously written an entire story?

I didn’t even have time to fully enjoy the afterglow of completing my work when a new itch, a new urge began to eat away at me…

Revision…

So I ask, when is a story finished?  Is a story ever truly completed?

Certainly everyone knows when the story has been told, but at what point do you feel it has been polished, edited, revised enough that you can say, “That’s it, it’s done.  My work is complete.”

Again with the Writing Post!

I’m probably going to get sick of writing about writing, but I can’t help it, it’s what’s on my mind right now.  Okay, that and this whole thing with work and the not working that it entails at the moment.  They said they’re going to get back to me on whether I’m going to be allowed to work with these insane restrictions I have from the doctor.  I doubt it though, which is kind of depressing, which is why I’ve been focusing on writing so much lately which was the entire point of this post so STOP DISTRACTING ME!

As of this writing I’m at about 6,000 words, which is good, because I’ve never made it that far before, but also frightening because I’ve never made it that far before.  I even went so far as to write out some of the plot before I actually made it that far into the story.  I’ve also been thinking about working on a couple other stories for some anthologies I saw open for submissions, but I’m not sure on those yet.  I have a vague idea for at least one of them, but it hasn’t solidified into something I can even grasp enough to have even a general idea of what to do with it, let alone the concept of characters in the story.  Don’t even get me started on how the plot would look, where it would be set, what it’s voice and tense would be…I thought I told you not to get me started!

Aside from all of that I’ve discovered that one of the best cures when I find myself suffering from the dreaded writer’s block is to read some writing blogs, or agents blogs, or editors blogs, or…well, I think you might get the idea from there.  And then I surf on over to Write or Die, crank up some tunes, and get to pounding away at the keyboard, using it as an axe to chop away at the wood of my story (thankfully my fiction writing isn’t nearly as crappy as what you guys have to suffer through here) until I have enough fuel for the fire of entertainment to burn forever within this novel that I’m certain you can’t wait to read regardless of you not having any idea what it’s about or even what genre it may be, just knowing that you’re so eternally grateful for the epic lack of run-on sentences that this book will have as compared to this blog you so admiringly read, day after day after day.

I’ve also been thinking of challenging myself to writing a certain something on certain days of the week.  Like doing a writing prompt day or a grammar attack day where I challenge the rules of grammar as compared to colloquial english, but I highly doubt I’m qualified for that second thing and that first thing just doesn’t sound entertaining to me because hello, this is a blog, not a fiction page! All that aside, though, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to write everyday now without having to feel exhausted, just a bit of pain, but I’m okay with that because, you know what?  I’m beginning to see the realization of my dream.  Just another 96,000 words and I can start my next project.

Cheers!

I Think it’s a Compulsion

I’m sitting here trying to take a break from working on my novel, my baby, my everything-I’ve-ever-wanted-and-dreamed-of-doing project.  I’ve got so much in my head trying to work it’s way out through my fingers and onto the screen.  I don’t know why it’s suddenly come to be.  Everything seems to just suddenly be flowing out of me, and then, just as suddenly, it stops, works itself around in my mind like snow whirling inside of a decoration, and then starts again.  Maybe all of this time I’ve been dreaming and hoping and not doing anything has merely been the calm before the storm.

I don’t know, and I’m not going to fret about it.  No sense worrying about why, suddenly, the urge to write has taken me, overshadowing almost everything else.  I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth, it may get frisky and bite.

But it does make me wish I had some sort of defined writing process, some steps I could follow that I knew worked for me other than pounding away upon the keyboard, reading a bit of what I’ve written, and pounding away some more.

This isn’t some story I’ve just thought of on a whim.  It’s something that’s been with me for nearly a decade, cemented into my brain for three, and finally making it’s way out.

Maybe that’s what I need, though, the practice of getting it all out so as to be able to define a process for myself.  Find what works and run with it.

I’ve tried outlining and am always over taken by the need to write, the need to just get the story down, and somewhere along the way I kick myself for not following through with the outline, or making notes, or whatever else it was I was trying to do in order to define my process.

And now I’m sidetracking myself into a completely different post entirely.  Which is exactly why I wish I had a process, an outline, a flowchart to follow.  Something.  Anything! I begin to write and the writing takes over.  Whether that’s good or not, I’m not certain.  I just know what happens.

Eventually I get to a fork in the story and don’t know which way to take it.  Should I go left or right?  Maybe I should come up with a third option?  Instead of following the road, get out of the car and simply hike through the woods?

I never know, and that’s where I stop, no longer allowing myself to use the drug that is my writing to continue on.  So I’m writing this in the hopes that I will, this one time, at least, continue on and finish my story that I’ve wanted to write and has been pushing me to be written.

Just Like Everyone Else

I read a blog post recently about NaNoWriMo that states the following:

Is it not a classic scenario where so and so has the unfinished novel in his or her desk drawer?

I had to laugh before I almost cried.  I wish my unfinished novel were in a desk drawer, but, alas, it’s not even typed into a document, let alone printed out and sitting somewhere.  And it’s not for lack of trying, either.  I just don’t seem to have the patience to put up with my horrid writing anymore, let alone the attention span to sit down and write more than ~500 words at a time.  I’m lucky if I break 300 in a blog post.

I’m going to keep trying, though, because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  It’s a dream of mine.  And this one thing, this one little thing, is what I’m going to work on.  Even if I never finish it, or I never query anyone with it, it’s what I’m going to do.  Because my goal isn’t to get published.  My goal is to write a book or 20, and have some fun along the way.