Cyclical, Cowardly Writing

So, I can write a 500+ page novel in about 3 months. I can write a 30 page short story in 2-3 days. Both of these are published and both were lazy, undisciplined bouts of writing. With speed like that, why, then, are those the only two things I have ever had published?

Well, the title of this blog entry should tell you something. After Winter’s Trial, I had a mental plan of what I was going to publish and when and in what order. Inspiration struck elsewhere, so I followed it. If I’m not feeling one project, I’m not going to do the best work I can on it, right? But at what point is that a cop out? When is the point where I should buckle down rather than flit about? Clearly what I’m doing now isn’t working.

Granted, this hasn’t been the best year for me. I was either distracted by my own stupidity, the stupidity of others, health issues, moving plans, or work issues…but I had that before.

I have come to the conclusion that I lack discipline and courage. As you can imagine, this wasn’t an easy conclusion to come to. I prefer to think that, like Mary Poppins, I am practically perfect in every way. Regretfully, that bitch is fiction, as is the notion of my own perfection.

Very simply, I need to focus.

The good thing about my brain is that it retains the stuff I care about. (The bad thing about it is that if I don’t need or want to know something, it will literally reject the knowledge and not allow it to even penetrate the surface. This makes polite conversation exceedingly awkward.)

What this all means for my writing is that, unlike many writers, no project is ever truly lost. There is an immediate time limit, as in, if I don’t write for three weeks, the immediacy is gone and it will be a struggle to get back into. However, I have found a note/idea written literally ten years before and am able to pick it up and continue on with it — every plot point remembered, every character nuance recalled, every twist and turn of the story within reach.

I did this very thing about a year or two ago. I found a note written when I was much younger (possibly even in my late teens) and everything came back to me. I filled in gaps and gave it weight and depth I was lacking at that time. I researched, wrote, and…stopped again. The story was so big that I chickened out. Back to the recesses of my brain it went.

I happened upon another project, the steampunk one I have mentioned several times before. I considered, built it up, and then stopped it. Why? Well, the city was too big and too integral to the story to not be fully realized. I fell out of it. This was an excuse. It felt too big and I chickened out.

I thought about doing something not too deep, fairly small. Something to get the engines running again. Had an old idea. Didn’t do much for me then. Blah, blah, blah. Do you see where I’m going with this?

I’m scared. And rather than confront this fear, rather than try and be and do all that I can, I back off. I let the fear and laziness take hold. And, because of the way my brain works, I can easily entertain the next idea. And the next. And the next. A lifetime of pretty decent ideas to cycle through, every last detail remembered, every fond snippet recalled, every happy moment I spent imagining them within my easy grasp.

So, cyclical and cowardly, my brain limped on. I felt something in the back of my head. Something brewing there. Something old and new at the same time. Then, like Athena from the swelled noggin of Zeus, it was born. Fully formed, realized, and resonating. I’m letting it stew. It’s a short story, yes. But it leads to the next. And the next. I think it’s the beginning of a road.

A road paved with a lifetime of unforgotten stories. Wish me luck, courage, and the will to do it.

(Yes, this entry is a day late, but yesterday was Thanksgiving and I was otherwise occupied. Christmas also falls on a Thursday this year, so I will likely be a day early or late with that entry, depending on my schedule. Just FYI.)

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~ by Darren Endymion on November 29, 2014.

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