Energy, exploring, and expectations.
The more I write fiction, the greater I understand that much of my writing is about exploring what I’m thinking and understand (and then trying to explain and share it by putting it in a story), and managing expectations about writing.
Some days, about one in fifty, I think, I don’t want to write. It’s mostly because I weary of my routine and want a time out. This typically happens when multiple energy levels – creative, physical, intellectual, mental, and emotional, let’s say – simultaneously drop to low levels. That puts me in a black place. That’s when I must dig deepest and longest to sit down and start typing those first words. If I can make it through a paragraph, I’ll persist and write several pages.
I know this. That’s when managing expectations enter my personal equation. Like everything else, my writing efforts reside on a spectrum. I know there are days when the words leap effortlessly through mind and onto media (and I love those days, and thank the Universe for the experience). On the spectrum’s opposite end on those weary, turgid days. Not only do I not want to write, but I’m also pretty much a much larger asshole than I am on other days. My tolerance, patience, and bonhomie seem completely drained on those days.
I also know that regardless of my approach and expectations to writing (and editing, and the rest of the writing process) on those days, I can rarely tell the difference in the end product. I edit, revise and polish too much. I tend to write the bones down in a flurry, and then more leisurely add details, bridges, and expansion. For instance, the first line of a new chapter begun the other day ended up being the first line of the sixth paragraph by the time I finished the chapter. That line was the part of the scene I first saw, but then the light grew wider and brighter, and I saw more of the scene, and entered the characters and their expectations and participation more deeply.
I know all of these things because I’ve explored myself and my approach to writing, and what I like and dislike about my processes. And then I write and post about it because that helps me clarify my understanding. Sometimes, other writers respond, and let me know, “Hey, me, too,” and that helps, too, because I see that I’m just another normal, fucked up writer. I might even be human.
Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.