Lately I've been pondering when to open the door…
My latest revision is calling my name, and yet I can’t seem to get settled into working on it as part of the nanothon (check out the nanothon—happening right now!—at http://nanowrimo.org/en/breaking_news/its-marathon-day) until I write this post.
Sometimes the only way to learn is to do something too soon. To take a leap before you’re ready. Sometimes that’s the only way to leap. To stand there on the edge, shaking, would make the next step impossible.
I realized a bit late that I may have “opened the door” on my manuscript prematurely (thank you, Stephen King’s On Writing, for helping me figure that out). It’s taken me a while to figure that out, but now that I know, I’m working through that reality. It’s time to close that door again for a while.
I loved Laini Taylor’s post on April 9th about writing the wrong scene. The truth is that’s what I’m settling down into my chair to do today—I will write a lot of wrong scenes. At this point, the best thing that I can do to figure out the details of the world I’m spinning in my head is to write until those facts crystallize in my mind. As Laini says, “I am busy practicing the discipline that not every scene I write needs to end up in the book. You write to find the story.” Check out Laini’s post at: http://www.lainitaylor.com/2013/04/the-world-will-end-if-you-write-wrong.html. She finishes by highlighting the fact that despite all feelings to the contrary, the world will not, in fact, end, and better yet—some of the scenes might actually work out to be the right story after all.
That’s exactly where I am right now—writing the wrong scenes and feeling like the world (at least the one I’ve created, and my own personal one) might end. I’ve done all of the “easy” revisions, and I even reconstructed significant parts of the plot, which I considered challenging at the time, but I’m discovering that this is the truly challenging part.
It’s tricky to see—and, more so, to describe—the fringes of the world that glitters and dances in my mind. The edges are hazy like the periphery of my dreams.
Here’s to the haze and to believing that the world I see can come alive in the minds of others through the amazing power of words.
So I’m going to close the door for a while and meditate on the images dancing in my mind. I’ll flex my fingers, arch my back before hunching over my computer, and type my way into communicating the reality of this story’s world. Even if that involves writing a lot of wrong scenes before finding the right ones. Best wishes to all of you doing exactly the same thing right now! Comment and let me know how your journey is going.
From Stephen King's On Writing: "The most important [discovery] is that the writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
From Carleen Brice's "Tips on Writing and Working Full-Time," which is linked below: "I’m a little concerned about getting back in the habit of using my time wisely (no more Real Housewives for me!), but because I wrote my first novel while working full-time I know something important: it’s not really how much time we have, it’s what we do with it."
It’s here… April 1st! It is with both excitement and apprehension that I accept that fact. No, I’m not talking about April Fools’ Day, though each year, I remember a bit too late the relevance of that fact. This year, I’m interested in today because it is the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo! Interested in participating? Check out http://www.campnanowrimo.org/. Or are you already participating and need their latest advice? Today’s post with encouragement is here: http://www.campnanowrimo.org/news/lets-get-started.
Participating in NaNoWriMo this past November (at www.nanowrimo.org) gave me the opportunity to finally devote large quantities of time to writing fiction. I started several days into the month, naively unaware of what a difference those few days could make. I realized too late that November is an extremely difficult time to make all of that extra work fit into an already packed schedule—Thanksgiving especially threw me off track and made me feel a bit frantic. However, as is often true, being naïve was advantageous—it gave me the courage and blind determination necessary to push through at any cost and meet my goal.
I finished my word count goal on November 26th and felt victorious. That lasted about half a minute, after which I began looking into the next steps of the process. I quickly discovered what all writers know entirely too well—the writing, challenging and draining as it might be, is certainly the easy part. It’s networking, establishing an “internet presence,” navigating twitter, and being to prepare a platform and put together a query letter that are the real obstacles (not to mention revision, as I’ve discussed on here in the past). If you’re interested in reading about the art of using twitter effectively, check out http://septuagenarianjourney.wordpress.com/. Jay Squires, the author of that blog, has a series of vivid posts that detail the nuances of tweeting and twitter. I have so much to learn! Phew!
Each passing day (in the wee morning hours and in the evening), I find myself searching for more time to research, read articles, read fiction—not to mention read, reflect on, write comments for, and score the latest batch of essays for my primary job, my teaching career. The more I explore, the more time I need.
The article “Tips for Writing and Working Full-Time” by Carleen Brice offers some useful encouragement and includes links to some other helpful sites: http://writerunboxed.com/2013/03/26/tips-for-writing-and-working-full-time/. I’m working on finding a balance between the rigid schedule approach and the “drink the Kool-Aid” approach.
The truth is that I am excited, especially after the past few months of looking at all of the other aspects of writing and publication, to get back to simply writing (not that it’s simple, but it’s direct and pure and a whole lot of fun). Good luck to all of the other NaNoWriMo campers!
So here goes! Day 1 and counting…
"that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have..."
© K. Ashley Dickson and Teaching the Apocalypse 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K. Ashley Dickson and Teaching the Apocalypse with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All thoughts and ideas are the author's and do not represent any employer.