Friday, August 20, 2010

On old operating systems

Today's been good, following a rough first week back at work. I got the same questions from students, the most common of which being "Why you talk like that?" and "How come you look at me like I'm stupid?" (my honest answer, at least to the second question being : That's just how my face looks). What has been especially important to me is figuring out when I will most likely have space and peace to write. In the past, I've pushed myself to prove that I can do so under almost any circumstances, but absolutely the work does suffer. And forcing myself over longer periods of time is just taxing.

But I did manage to draft a chapter today, along with an article for another gig I landed, however no work yet done on "The Worst: Bad Guy Academy." However, speaking of forcing oneself to do things, during the chapter (number 24, thanks very much) I did have to rework several pages. And by rework I mean erase and go a different direction. The very same topic came up in a writer's group meeting when I asked another member how he wrote himself into and out of holes. My question was, metaphorically speaking, why not just back out of the hole and drive around it. His answer, before the whole thing turned into a situation where they laughed at my strangeness, was that erasing all those pages would be unpleasant. I agreed with him. It's something I try to avoid doing by carefully outlining (read: planning out what I'm going to write about before I write about it, and thinking about where that would take the story) but sometimes, like today and during both previous chapters, it happens.

And I've yet to really confirm if doing such unpleasant things will ultimately make one a stronger, better writer, though I do believe one should end up with a stronger, better story. Not that there's any real objective way to measure such a thing. I guess I'm just hoping. Maybe one day I'll be able to write down a bunch of made-up rules about how I did things and sell that instead (read: in addition).

Something else new and interesting this past week also happened: someone actually asked me for advice on writing. It didn't catch me by surprise because it was an email following a previous one with a different question. It didn't actually occur to me until it happened again that the person in question regarded me as a source of information, or at least someone further along in the process than he. I made sure to edit my correspondence thoroughly so as not to be misleading or look the idiot. So that was pretty cool.

Conversely, I have completely dropped the ball on working on the script. I have no idea what happened (isn't it usually a lie when someone says that?) but I was laying awake the other night and forgot which short stories I had sent out to what places, or what I was working on in addition to the novel in what order. I feel like maybe I should step up my project organization (I mean, in addition to the clipboard filled with scratch paper pinned to the wall). What's Windows' new slogan? Microsoft Office helps make it great?

No comments:

Post a Comment