Monday, November 14, 2005

Writing Moods

C.E. Murphy, of Urban Shaman fame, noted that when she looked at her TBR shelf (you only have ONE, Catie?), she usually just shrugs and toddles off to write on her own story which is what she was in the mood for really. And sometimes I can do that. But sometimes, that doesn't work either.

When I'm sitting at my work table (I'm one of those throwback freaks who works in longhand, remember), looking out the window hoping for squirrels or Mrs. Chamberlain's dog to wander by so I have something to look at other than the Bermuda grass growing in my flower bed, thinking I'm not really in the mood to write, it helps to figure out why I don't want to put pen to paper and write something down.

The why dictates what I do. Sometimes I'm just being a whiny baby who would rather goof off than write. And sometimes I'm having an actual mini-writer's block because I'm not sure which direction the story needs to go. For the whiny-baby thing, I make myself Do It Anyway. Write Anyway.

Sometimes, I get into it, the story starts to flow and the whiny-baby mood goes away. Other times, I get a page or two written and everything just sort of poops out, or I start falling asleep over my papers or I keep thinking about the silly characters in the TV series on DVD I just got instead of my Own characters and the stupid brain won't settle down. In those instances, I'm usually better off to give myself a break.

Two pages is better than none, I say. It's okay to stop now. I go take a nap if I'm falling asleep. Or I go watch the rest of the episodes (I really hate that I didn't discover Firefly until after it was canceled.) to get them out of my system and locked into the brain. Or I take the stuff that is happening in the story and I get out my current "blank book" and free-write about it till I figure out what went wrong, if anything, and what needs to happen next. Naps followed by the freewriting help a lot.

Last week, I didn't write as much as I wanted to. 23 pages, as opposed to the 30 I had for my goal. Of course 23 is much better than the Zero pages I wrote the week before, so it's all relative. Anyway, I wasn't sure I could get untracked today, so before I started writing (after I started the dishwasher and put on a load of laundry), I hauled out my big pink-and-green blank book with the Carmen Miranda lady on the front and wrote a bunch of stuff. And when I got to the work table, it clicked. I didn't even get to the part I worked out in the journal. So I still have that waiting for tomorrow. Whoopee.

2 comments:

CE Murphy said...

Well, we had two, actually, and they were both five feet long and crammed full. Then we moved across the world and culled a lot of stuff, so right now I'd say yeah, only one. :)

I didn't realize you write longhand! Wow! And often if I really don't want to write, it's because I've backed myself into the wrong corner in my story, but sometimes it's just sheer cussedness. :)

Bernita said...

Hey, I'm a longhand freak too.