Thursday, December 29, 2011

Simply Write It, Stupid!

Procrastination, the universe knows I'm guilty of it. At around the 65k word mark of my book, I think I am realizing it more than ever. Sometimes I think I have too many friends who write and manage to publish what they write. While the thought is very encouraging, at the same time it gets rather intimidating, especially when they write far faster than I. They also manage to work at it every day, a fact which doesn't really help alleviate my own self-deprecation. Sure, I can blame the fact that I write for a living at my 40-hour day job, but considering my friend JH Glaze works in the same building I do on the same schedule and he's already well into his third book in the past two years, I really have no excuse.

It wasn't until one Tuesday writing group session at Library Coffee  I realized how bad my excuses have gotten. After to listening to my tiny word-count lament, one of the girls suggested just writing down crap, not necessarily in my book, but just random crap to get myself started. When I asked her to clarify, she said "Just write some words, and follow it with more words, and then more words after that. Do it for ten minutes." I did. Two hundred and fifty-some words later (after typing out: "This is my craptastically-crappy short story") I actually had something rather readable, and also her point. While it is good to have a game plan, while it's good to have big ideas, when you get so focused on making something good, you're so terrified of creating something crappy or mediocre that you end up not creating anything it all.

It's not post-modern. It's not minimalist. It's blank.

I don't think writer's block  has really anything to do with lack of inspiration, but everything to do with an overabundance of intimidation and anxiety. The project is overwhelming, you want to make every word count and be perfectly in place. Does your mind really work like that though? Who honestly is able to write perfect dialogue, imagery, and flow on the spot? I sure as hell can't. I don't think I know anyone who can, though it often seems like they do with their massive word counts assembled in what seems as only a matter of minutes. If someone actually claims to be able to do this, they're either lying through their teeth or not human.

This doesn't count. They fling their own poo.

So here is what I've gleaned, which I hope you take with you, is this: in the times you feel the urge to not write, write some words, follow it with more words, and then more words after that. You can edit LATER. You can embellish LATER. You can add space monkey metaphors LATER. It's always easier to polish something when you've already created it, even crap. However, it's really hard to be proud of a big pile of absolutely nothing. So faithful readers, at the risk of sounding cheesy for pulling a total "title of the film" moment on my own blog post, stop getting intimidated by your work, make it your b*tch, and simply write it, stupid!