Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Just start writing...

It's funny how this writing thing never seems to get easier.  Oh, sure, it seems like it should.  It seems like if you've been doing something for as long as I've been doing this thing something should get easier.

But it doesn't.

Writing always starts with a bit of euphoria.  Today is The Day that the new project is beginning!  You sit down.  And you stare at the computer.  And you sort of get an idea.  That needs to be researched... and eight hours later you have every recipe for Bakewell tarts ever written down by humans, but not the start of your new book.

And so you say, "Tomorrow!  Tomorrow I shall get up!  I shall get dressed!  I shall go to the coffee shop with my laptop and be That Writer Person Who Is Writing."

But you wake up.

And it takes awhile for the coffee to brew. 

And there are newspaper articles to be read.

And the world is falling down around us.

And eight hours later, there is still nothing on your page...

But you say, "TOMORROW!  TOMORROW SHALL BE THE DAY!"

I have found there is only one way for getting a book written, and that is deciding that tomorrow is today.  And making tomorrow TODAY is a lousy, miserable, horrible decision.  But you gotta do it, otherwise this writing thing never gets done.

And the first day?  The first day is BRUTAL.  Your brain is like one of those ping-pong lotto boxes, with all these little balls bouncing around saying: Laundry! Vacuuming! Dishes! Cooking! Internet! INTERNET! IIINNNTTTEEERNEEEET!!!

And you can't follow the bouncing ball, or else you know you are going to find yourself at 11PM wondering why you haven't written anything again.

So you set a timer for twenty minutes and pray to the Muses to visit you for just TWENTY FRICKIN' MINUTES.  And you turn on some sounds of thunderstorms or ocean waves or coffee shops or coffee shop jazz or maybe some rock or maybe some... WAIT.  You were supposed to be writing.

You sit back down and set that timer.  You just have to do the writing thing for TWENTY MINUTES for it to be a successful day.  You think about how you used to be able to crank out 6k words a day without breaking a sweat.  8k words in a day at a brisk jog.  If you could just cranking out 10k a day, you could have this project done in four days. 

BUT WAIT!  Your ping-pong brain is pinging and ponging and while you may have set the timer, you didn't start it.

And so you do.

And you are miserable and it's awful and right around the 8 minute mark you need a drink of water or a bathroom or SOMETHING!  ANYTHING TO END YOUR SUFFERING!

But you make it through and realize you wrote six hundred words in twenty minutes.  If you can do that again tomorrow, maybe you can do TWO twenty minute sessions.

But tomorrow comes and in fact, you're able to get several twenty minute sessions going.  And the next day?  Even more.  And suddenly, you remember you DO know how to do this writing thing.  And you DO remember how to tell a story.  And all that studying you did of craft and storytelling?  It perhaps wasn't time wasted.  And maybe you might finish this book before your 95th birthday.  You're clipping along!  You're doing 6k days!  You're doing 8k days!

And then something comes up.

And you miss a day.

And suddenly...

You have to start from the beginning.  All over again.

Twenty minutes.

Of hell.

One day at a time.

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