I was working on a scene in my short story this past weekend when a very strange thought struck me. Do I really want to use this scene in my short story already? I mused to myself. Perhaps I should save it for the future, when I finally start writing my novel. Ok ok, so it was a particular passage that I liked because it reveals a lot about myself, but come on, it wasn’t even that good to begin with. Isn’t that weird? And this wasn’t even the first time that the thought had occurred to me.
I wonder which part of my perfectly flawed personality is responsible for this most curious thought. Is it the part of me which is so delusional and detached from reality that it borders on megalomania? I’ve never written anything more than a few pages when it comes to a novel, which is why I even switched to short stories in the first place. At this stage I’m just learning to be productive and gaining experience in my craft and I’m really just happy to write anything at all. I have absolutely no right or any logical basis to want to ‘save’ a particular piece of writing which I may or may not use in a novel which I may or may not write in a future which may or may not occur and imagine how delightful it will sound to my readers which may or may not exist.
Or perhaps it is the part of me that is constantly insecure and which has very little faith in my own abilities? This is the best that I can do! Oh my god, I suck! And so I feel like I need to hoard every single piece of writing which I even remotely consider to be any good at all, and in the hope that one day I will end up with enough good material to piece together a novel. Come to think of it, this part of me is also pretty delusional, but mostly out of fear. There’s no need to fear of course. If there’s one thing I should know by now is that I am constantly improving as a writer. There’s no reason to believe that I won’t become a better writer in the future as long as I keep practicing.
Whatever the reason, can I agree with myself that this line of thinking is complete and utter nonsense? It not only hinders my progress, but it is also detrimental to the quality of my writing if I start worrying about whether I should use a certain passage not because I worry if it fits within the story but whether I should save it for the future. Besides, it implies that the story I am working on right now is somehow less important than this non-existent novel I am yet to write (or not). If the story I’m working on is really that unimportant, then why do even I work on it in the first place? And why do I think about it every day?
Now, let us ignore these absurd thoughts and just write the damn thing, shall we?
2011 is slowly drawing to a close and since it is never too early to start thinking about resolutions, I have decided to make up my own list of rules that I need to adhere if I want to become a more prolific writer. This short list is mainly based on other pieces of writing advice as well as observations on my own writing habits. After some thought, I believe these are the rules that make the most sense for me personally. Some of these may be painfully obvious when you read it, but just because something is obvious doesn’t mean that I will necessarily do it, so it’s always good to write them down as a reminder. Speaking of obvious… Continue reading
It’s November, and for a lot of writers it means it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. After weeks of inaction due to the busy schedule at work, I have decided to make use of this occasion to seriously start writing again, albeit with a different purpose than other Wrimo’s all around the world. No 50,000 word novel for me. Instead I will try my hand at a couple of short stories.
There are several story ideas swirling around in my head for quite some time now, and they are all desperately pleading to be given form and substance so that they can become something more than mere figments of my imagination. For now, I’ve picked two of them to work on. The first one is based on an exercise for the Writers Studio from about a year ago. It is a piece largely inspired by T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, and its challenge of the concept of ‘Might is right’. Ever since I wrote that piece I’ve been thinking about Sam and his relationship with Sir Bruce, and how it would evolve further. The other idea is something I thought up of just a few weeks ago about a writer who gets somewhat caught up by his own imagination. I chose that one because it was supposed to be a very short story in a very simple setting, something I can work on just to get myself into the rhythm again. However I found out today that the idea wants to be something more than a mere warm-up for the other stories. Not that it will evolve into a groundbreaking concept or anything like that — it’s still a relatively simple concept — but I believe now that it has the potential to grow into a story in its own right.
I’ve actually been working on these ideas since the end of October. Unfortunately I’ve found that I have become quite rusty, as I have trouble writing freely and let my imagination do the work for now. I find myself constantly falling back into my old habit of mulling over each individual word before putting it down on paper (before proceeding to cross it out again), so that’s something I need to work on the coming weeks. Well, at least I am putting in the effort again, even if the amount of time and effort spent is still largely concentrated around the weekends and therefore relatively limited. So to be honest, I do not believe I will end up with enough material at the end of the month to reach the 50,000 word goal, but that’s not my personal goal anyway. I will be thrilled if I can finish a couple of first drafts and use November mainly to gain momentum to start writing more in 2012 and beyond.
And to everyone who has taken up the NaNoWriMo challenge, or just the challenge to write anything at all, I wish you all lots of luck!
Filed under Musings, writing