Friday, September 6, 2013

Best Intentions

I learned something years ago when I first started writing. Back then I was forcing myself to sit in front of the computer until I completed three pages each weekday. It was horrendous, boring, and it took me a year to finish the first draft on one novel. I never revised it or did anything else with it. Instead I went out, got a job at GEICO and worked as a bodily injury claims adjuster for five years.

Free photos: Puma at zoo
Even the puma's laughing at me!
My mistake was treating writing too much like a 9 to 5 job (well who has those anymore...7 to 5 job). When I picked up writing again last year, it was like an itch I couldn't ignore. The story was there and it flowed out of me onto the pages. Now granted that doesn't always happen. Sometimes the ideas aren't there and the words dam up inside. On those days, I'm happy if I just work on revisions or at least manage a paragraph or two.

The trick is to write every day. Not just weekdays. Every single day. Even if it's only a paragraph, I spend time with the characters, getting to know them, thinking about them. Sure I'd love to boast 2,000 words per day, sometimes I do. Writing for me is an exercise in creativity. When I try to force it, I clam up and become unproductive.

I've seen questions to authors asking why they're working on more than one series at a time or more than one manuscript. If they're like me, it's not greed driving them to diversify. There are days when my mind can't deal with the fantasy realm I created. Moving to a different manuscript helps keep the creative juices flowing. Writing short stories can do the same thing. I have three current WIPs. They all have romantic elements, but that's where the similarities end.

I expressed my intention to concentrate on the third book of Light Chronicles in a prior post. That didn't work out so well. I scrapped the first few pages and started over from scratch before realizing what the real problem was. Bitter Envy calls to me, a siren song begging me to continue Envy's plight. Dare I compare WIPs to puppies scrambling for attention. Well my dogs are cuter and fluffier, but I swear sometimes the call of the story is stronger than their loudest barks.

Perhaps I give my creative side too much leeway. Writing, like life, is a learning experience. So for now I'll give my creative side free reign. Well, except for creative side doesn't like editing much...


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