Friday’s Theme Music

After another night of peculiar dreams that ended with Boomtown Rats singing “I Don’t Like Mondays”(hello, it’s Friday), and streaming some Brian Seltzer, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” arrived in the stream. I had the dubious enjoyment of Bob Dylan’s original version alternating with the Guns n’ Roses cover. Clapton’s reggae version slipped in there a few times, as did the a recording of Tom Petty singing it with Bob Dylan.

Although I prefer Bob’s original song, the Guns n’ Roses’ cover (1990) dominated today, so I went with it. Had to have a shot of coffee before I stopped feeling like I was knocking on heaven’s door.

Cheers

Advertisements

The Twelve Stages of Writing

Thoughts on a novelist’s life as they cope with conceiving, writing, revising, and publishing a novel.

  1. Jubilation! What a great idea! I must start thinking about this and writing. This is brilliant! Coffee, quick!
  2. Doubts. Wait…what was it about? I don’t know…that’s more complicated than I realized, and derivative as hell. What the hell…why would those characters do that? What’s their motivation? Man, I need some caffeine just to make sense of this. Better go get some coffee.
  3. Bargaining. Look, let me play a computer game and then get through just one day, just one hundred words, just one scene, just one paragraph today, and I promise that I’ll write more tomorrow and catch up. Give me some coffee.
  4. Denial. Why am I doing this to myself? I don’t have what it takes. I’m not smart enough or talented enough. I’m such an idiot! Why did I ever think that I could write a novel? Let me just finish my coffee and go.
  5. Acceptance. Well, I’ve gone this far. Might as well finish the damn thing. Then, maybe I’ll set it aside for a century, and take a look later, see if I can edit and revise it, and make something out of it. I need a fresh cup of coffee.
  6. Jubilation! Hey, this isn’t so bad. This is pretty good. It just needs some work. It’s all coming together. Give me some coffee.
  7. Doubts. I don’t know…what was I thinking when I wrote that? I don’t even remember writing that part. Who is that character? I don’t remember them. I have never seen so many typos in my life. Even the coffee tastes bad. What a waste.
  8. Bargaining. Listen, self. If I can just finish reading and editing this part and sleep on it, I know that I’ll find a way to make this all work, and then I’ll take a break from it all. More coffee, please.
  9. Denial. Who am I kidding? This is absolute garbage. I’ll never make it as a writer. I can’t even type. Even if I finish this, who will ever read it? Maybe I should work on something else. I need more coffee.
  10. Acceptance. No, you’ve come this far. You owe it to yourself to at least finish it. Maybe more coffee will help. Come on, you can do it. What’s the saying? Just open any vein. Sure. Give me some coffee.
  11. Jubilation! This is pretty damn good. Now all I need to do is find someone to publish it. Let me hunt for an agent. But first, some coffee.
  12. Doubts. I’ll never find an agent or a publisher. Maybe I should self-publish. But then I’d need to have a cover made, hire a copy-editor, and then do all the marketing once I publish it. Let me drink a cup of coffee and think about it…

How ’bout you, writers? Any thoughts on the stages of coping with your writing efforts?

Monday’s Theme Music

I don’t know ’bout you, but some days, I get up and think of my routine, and look at the world and the moment, and I think of other places. I think of beaches with a sun blistering the sea, and book stores with cafes, croissants and coffee, and strolling that endless beach in the mist of crashing waves. I look ’round and think, I just want to fly away.

Then I know what I want to do and need to do that day, and I snap out of it. But the song begun with the thought streams through me like the runoff from melting mountain snow.

Here’s Lenny Kravitz’s 1998 song, “Fly Away”. Guess I’ll have some coffee instead of flying away. You know, let the wings of caffeine lift me into the day.

 

The Muses and Me

Yeah, another writing rant/post. Aren’t you lucky?

I wondered again about this writing process and how much control I have. Writing today, I reached a scene where I stopped writing to say, “I don’t want this to happen.”

The muses answered, “Okay, we appreciate your opinion. Now write the scene.”

“But — ”

“You’re wasting time,” a muse said. “Pitter patter, get ‘er at ‘er.”

Jaw clenching, I put my hands on my lap and glared at the computer screen. “I’m the writer here. You’re not the boss of me.”

“Yeah, we are,” the muses said with hooting laughter. As their laughing mounted, one shouted, “He thinks we’re not the bosses of him.” That fired their laughter into higher mocking tones.

Saving my work, I locked my computer and went for a walk to shut them up and think.

I couldn’t appreciate their case for what they wanted to happen. I didn’t have an impressive alternative, either. Hard to argue with them when they have a plan and I don’t.

Dismissing that for the moment, I reflected on the epiphany that I’d had, that, ah-hah, I need something else at the beginning, “something else” being mental shorthand for a more involved and complete opening scene (or chapter) that properly sets up the story and consequences, a piece that gives the reader more reason to be invested with the main character, along with the supporting protagonists.

As many writers before me have said, the first draft is the writer learning the story, and you can’t write the beginning until you’ve finished writing the end. All this seems especially true with this novel in progress.

Returning to my writing, I sat down and did as the muses decreed. It was the best thing to do because, at this point, I was wasting precious writing time, analyzing what they were telling me to write and my reasons for not wanting to write that. Besides, this is just a draft. I can always edit and revise this part later, right? I can even delete it.

That cracked the muses up. “Sure,” they said. “Of course you can. You’re the author.”

Sometimes, I’m not fond of the muses. They can be so mean.

The coffee cup is empty except for a cold, bitter dribble. Time to stop writing like crazy, at least one more time.

Don’t Anger the Muses

I love it when I get in here to write, and I seem to know exactly where to begin and what to type. Little thinking is demanded; it’s just go, go, go. 

I know it’s not from ‘nowhere’ or some mysterious regions of my brain, or a gift from the muses. Truthfully, I’m agnostic. I’m not going to be categorical and say that it isn’t the muses. Maybe it is. Don’t want to outrage them by denigrating their contribution, you know. If it is due to the muses and they cut me off, I’d be bereft.

In my defense, I know that I stopped in the middle of a scene yesterday. I was following a trend. Once I’d shut down and was walking, thoughts arrived about what to do. Walking frequently acts as a laxative on my thinking, out there, going somewhere that only requires me to think, left, right, left, right — which out for the bus — permits to me to think.

I’d not been planning my thoughts and wasn’t actively thinking about the novel in specific ways. It was more a part of multi-streaming that I often do, especially while walking, surfing a little of one before jumping to another. This idea popped up, found its roots, and grew. More grew, developing new angles, as I showered and shaved this morning.

I guess it’s probable that I was thinking, but the muses were directing the streams and deciding what came to what. How’s that for a compromise?

Got my hot coffee. I’m in my chair. Time to write again, at least one more time.

 

What School? (Updated)

Once again, Stephen King has managed to irritate me.

I’d been busy writing, thinking, and brainstorming yesterday, capping off the final few minutes of an enjoyable writing session. (I know, I seem like an eternal optimist, don’t I? Truth is, I don’t share many of the dark days. I don’t like dwelling on ’em.)

MS Word froze. Hell, the entire computer froze. With an exasperated, “WTF?”, I sat back, sipping the last of my cold coffee, hoping to wait it out. A few things were attempted to break the hold. Not a damn thing worked.

Hard reboot, please. I was sore about it, nay, pissed. I wanted to bring the doc up to finish those last few thoughts and paragraphs.

Twelve minutes later – was I counting? Ya think? – the docs were up with some final paragraphs missing. Grrr. The excitement had fizzled, the energy had dried up, the thrill was gone. (Cue B.B. King.) So was my coffee and the allotted time to write. I made a note to myself, just a brief, slightly cryptic thing. I figured, I’d remember…

Twenty-four hours later, I don’t remember. Well, I remember three out of four that I’d thought. Damn it, that fourth one is plaguing me.

Which brings me to the eternal question, which school do you belong to? Are you one that writes copious notes, or are you of the “I’ll remember it” school?

I used to be the copious notes school. Then I read that Stephen King said that he doesn’t keep notes. He said that if it was important, he’d remember it. How sage that sounded! I would be like Stephen King. He can do it, so I can, too…right?

First, I lied. I am a copious note maker. I have documents of notes about the novel in progress, explaining what and why, because I know that I’ll probably get lost in the tangled tales and forget. I invoked the Stephen King clause yesterday in an optimistic fit. While I don’t remember it now, I’m sure that I will as I write today…or tomorrow…or…sometime.

I hope.

Got my mind juice, a.k.a., coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

UPDATE: I remembered the fourth as I began writing, and made a note of all four. Ah, the power of coffee.

 

Wobble Like Crazy

I’m back in the writing space following some unpleasant medical issues. In the last three days, I’ve averaged two thousand words each. It’s delicious to feel like I’m moving forward, no matter how word counts fall upon the writing spectrum in regards to their importance. I didn’t plan any word counts but they’re proof of something happening, a minor validation that I’ve been doing more than daydreaming.

After some arguing with the muses, me interrogating them to explain every thread, decision, and insight, and them laughing at me, I followed their instructions to, “Just write.” Some of the writing could be permanent but some of it might be delicately sculpted away or blown away with heavy explosives. Doesn’t matter. What I’ve written before during other writing projects may not help me this time. Each time that I write another novel, it’s a new adventure in learning how to be a better writer. I must write to have the material to shape, an interesting cycle. Write, edit, write, re-write, write, revise…where am I?

Well, I’m on the novel-writing spectrum. I slide along, following paths, retracing, forging new paths, falling off cliffs, and climbing back up. So it goes until there’s finally enough coherency for a novel to take shape, and then, finally, enough satisfying story in a reasonable order arrives, and then, at last, I pick a place where it can be comfortably ended with reasonable reward for readers who ventured through my thicket of words.

Can you say run-on?

I’m permitted a cup of coffee a day. I apply my allowance to my writing.

Illness is depressing, not because I have it, but because of its limitations. Bending down to pick up a piece of paper, scratch a cat’s chin, or put on my shoes and socks is slow and tedious and brings a measure of stinging discomfort. Walking remains uncomfortable and difficult, but not impossible. Of course, I have a history of rushing the healing processes. Press on, regardless, right? When I had a broken neck on Okinawa and wore a halo device, I pushed to go back to work and ended up dislodging that metal mother twice, sending me back into hospital. Anyway, I wobble around at a slow and careful pace, watching the ground to find the threads and seeds that the muses leave, then trying to parse their guidance.

Yeah, just write, baby. Stop critiquing, doubting, wondering, fearing, worrying, and questioning. Just get ‘er done. Pitter-patter.

Done writing like crazy for at least one more day. Sloshy, my drain-collection bag resting against my calf, is filled. Time to wobble on and empty him.

Writing Interrupted

Ready for a rant of self-pity and exasperation? It’s all about me. Yeah, you’ve been warned.

So, sick. Nothing threatening like a terminal disease, just a trifecta of irritations, a head cold, the flu, and then a kidney stone. With each, I thought, this will pass, and then I prayed that the last one, the kidney stone, passed fast (which it seems to have done).

Three weeks mostly killed except for a few days when I caved to the obligation to defy my body, throwing ripples of confusion and discontinuity into my carefully constructed writing existence. I could little practice the rituals of writing, of  walking to clear my mind, establishing a mental framework for walling myself into a solitary zone where I coexist with word storms, of ordering coffee and sitting down to tap, tap, tap, forwards and backwards, creating and correcting, of staring out windows and trying to understand WTF the muses are trying to tell me.

Illness didn’t slow my inner writer and army of muses. Death might slow them down, but not minor illnesses. They came in waves, expecting to be released or entertained. That doing nothing routine was unacceptable, a position strengthened because my illness habits called for me to read, sleep, dream, awaken, and read, punctuated by episodes of eating, drinking tea, and the sickness processes that my body demanded in which it hurled things out. Nothing like reading to calm the writer, right? Wrong.

Perhaps, worse of all, was the limited coffee. My taste buds warred with the coffee’s flavor. Variations failed. Spiced herbal teas were substituted, but they’re not coffee, ya know?

All of that seems cleared away today. Did my walk. Got my coffee. It still doesn’t taste right, but I’ll work through it. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: