Writing fatigue and f-bombs

Warning: unasterisked swearing!

No energy for lengthy writer’s musings today.

I’m writing. Sometimes it’s Story A, sometimes D…probably a line or two from narrative Z…but fuck it…I’m writing. The writing’s at that ugly stage, where I dislike everything.

But fuck it…I’m writing.

Autumn’s almost here: hoping it brings a fresh wind of creativity and enthusiasm for wordage.

If not, fuck it…I’ll still be writing.

PS: Keep Writing by Tyece at Twenties Unscripted

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Narrative Infidelity & The Cheating Curve

Narrative Infidelity

Back in April, I started writing ‘properly’. What I mean by ‘properly, is I regularly glued my rear to a chair and churned out words, with the idea that one day, I would have a novel to show for my efforts.voices-in-head

It’s officially July, so I’ve only been at this ‘properly’ for a few months. However, the process hasn’t been without its problems. It seems the more I write, the more I find myself cheating on my own stories.

Firstly, let me say that I accepted my calling to write a long time ago. I have acknowledged the voices in my head – who like to talk my ears off, if I don’t open a fresh word document and put fingers to keyboard. However, what I didn’t consider was that the competition for narrative dominance would be so loud or demanding!

My literary motto comes from E. L. Doctorow, who said, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia”. And for good reason, it seems.

Fickle Fiction

Somewhere around 20,000 words into my original narrative (which I’ll refer to as Book A), a short story began calling for my attention. Since I needed a break from Book A, and I would rather write than not, I decided to give the short story a chance.

The short story was written and packed away into the archive.

I returned to working on Book A.

There I was, happily tapping away, when halfway through a scene, a horror plot snuck up on me, and the concept for Book B was born.

I furiously wrote down as much as I could so I didn’t lose the initial genesis of Book B. Once it was out of my head, I returned my focus to Book A…again.

After a flurry of a few more thousand (or so) words, Book A was shoved unceremoniously out of the way by a crime thriller!

Please welcome Book C.

Did I mention that the fantasy fiction I assumed would be my ‘go-to’ genre, has yet to make a solid and consistent appearance anywhere in my writing exploits? (Where are you Book D?)

The Cheating Curve

The more I write, the more ideas come to me! I’m like that kid in the Sixth Sense: I see plot developments and characters everywhere! Some are even dead too! Kudos to my creativity…not so great for my writing discipline.

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I feel as if I’m cheating on my own story! Can I add that it is exhausting! How do people cheat in real life? Where do cheaters find the time and the energy? How do you keep everyone happy for Chrissake!?

Romance wants a handsome protagonist and some witty banter, but horror demands detailed scene-setting with chilling undertones. Fantasy needs solid world creation, but crime requires scientific fact. Each genre of fiction wants different things: tone, development style, speech patterns, research!

*mutters something about genres being a bunch of self-centred arseholes*

I need stability: a story I can rely on. I thought my days of flitting from one plot to another were done. I don’t have the energy to flirt with this many potential books! I should be in a monogamous relationship with only one story. Right? Isn’t that the appropriate way to do this thing called novel writing?

Maybe not…

 

 

Silencing the ‘Inner Naysayer’

It starts as a whisper

Early on into my ’50k words in a month’ challenge,  I noticed the internal whisper of self-sabotage began talking louder than usual.

While out to lunch, my Inner Naysayer (let’s call him Colin for the sake of the story) was dismantling my fledgeling story:

Colin: “Who wants to read this kind of story anyway?”

Me: “I do for a start – ”

Colin interrupts: “If you say so. Personally, I think you’re a tad bit delusional. But what do I know? I’m just a figment of your imagination!” 

Me: “Lalalalalala! I can’t hear you, Colin!”

I ended that conversation quickly and tuned out Colin’s high-pitched giggles with an episode of Chuck on Netflix. *head in sitcom sand*

Silence the Inner Naysayer with a Novelist’s Agreement

Chris Baty author of No Plot, No Problem, talks about this conundrum in some detail. You have to make a pact with yourself that you will not allow that self-sabotaging sonofab*tch inner gremlin to have a seat at your writer’s table.

There’s no space for you here, Colin! Got that!!

It’s also important to read the “Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding” frequently:

I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.

An open letter to my Inner Naysayer

Dear Colin (Inner Naysayer)

Your feedback has been duly noted but I’m choosing to ignore you because I think you’re a bit of dick.

So next time you’d like to offer an opinion, you can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine!

Sincerely,

Not listening to you anymore!

Books on Writing Books & The Next Deadline

In recent months I have read the following books on writing books:

  • Chris Manby – Writing for Love – a fantastic, step by step guide to help you plot out your novel from a very successful novelist.
  • Chuck Wendig – 500 Ways To Be A Better Writer – anecdotal, funny, rude and helpful while being highly entertaining!
  • Chris Baty – No Plot, No Problem – A ridiculously funny book on writing that only slightly mad (or desperate) people would imitate in order to get words down on paper at any cost! (Right up my street then!)
  • Cathy Yardly – Rock Your Plot – detailed and well referenced. Great for pinning down plot details to help you create a wire-frame to build your story.

(I’ve just noticed that each author’s name begins with ‘C’ – how freaky).

Each one has proven valuable, but my favourite so far has been Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem simply because, right now, I need to break through hell hole that is known as the first draft!

As the founder of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – where thousands of writers sign up to pen/type 50,000 words in one month) Chris Baty is well placed to discuss the merits of writing for writing’s sake and worrying about the rest later (a.k.a. editing and any kind of sensible prose).

For a perfectionist, Type A personality like me, there’s a heady appeal to writing simply for word count alone. It’s similar to learning a new exercise: you have to do it again and again before you can master it!

If I keep worrying about a first draft that is flawless, I will be eighty before I finish writing this damn book!

If you read my earlier post The Plan Is… then you will know that tomorrow is my plot deadline. Well I managed to create a very basic plot for two books! *high five*

The next deadline!

From 1st until 30th April, I will be undertaking my own unofficial NaNoWriMo. That’s right! 50,000 words in 30 days! That’s 29 days of 1,666 words and 1 day at 1,686 words.

I have signed the “Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding”

I hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000 word novel in one month’s time. By invoking an absurd, month long deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of “craft”, “brilliance”, and “competency” are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until that are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.

 

During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected and/or excised at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem it completed. I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and rigors of the writing process should such inflation prove useful in garnering me respect and attention, or freedom from participation in onerous household chores.

 

I acknowledge that the month-long, 50,000-word deadline I set for myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has begun, will invite well-deserved mockery from friends and family, I also acknowledge that, upon completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks afterward.

 

Date: 31st March 2014

Novel Start Date: 1st April 2014

Novel Deadline: 30th April 2014

Feel free to tweet me encouraging quotes and messages! Care packages and foodstuffs will also be gratefully accepted! And if you decide that I’m crazy and you don’t happen to be writer: SHUT UP and keep it to yourself – and I mean that in the most loving and gracious of ways.

Signing off.

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