Analogue


1
As I posted earlier, I was having a really hard time writing a story I’ve been working on for a week.
Some of it was external (or rather, internal: physical fatigue and mental fog caused by things I can point at), but that doesn’t matter. I still have to work. When my kids were small I didn’t get to not feed them just because I felt crappy. When I had a paying job and I was bored, I couldn’t just sit there and stare into space.
Now I work for myself. So I had to find a way to, um, work.
I had spent far too long looking for distraction in the food cupboards and on news sites and the dreaded Facebook. I was starting to feel sick. So I broke out my e-edition of Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
I got as far as the part where the author talks about stepping away from the computer screen when it hit me: that was exactly what I needed to do today.
I copied out, by hand, in my nice fountain pen, the opening 359 words of the story I was working on. I consulted my handwritten notes. I dragged some loose leaf lined paper on to my desk and wrote like I was sitting in the exam hall during my Higher English exam 2. Before I started to write, I blocked out some things I knew I wanted my heroine to do (and why) and then I began to write. I wrote until I was starting to get stale (around 1000 words later). And then I typed it up.
And tomorrow I know what comes next. I have notes about why she’s doing all this, and a sense of how long I can let her roam the page before I have to bring things to a head.
I think I’ll walk down to my shared office space early tomorrow morning, with my notebooks, my ipad and my new bluetooth headphones, and see how far I can move things on.
I’m fighting back. Because what else am I going to do? Give up? Been there, done that., learned that it doesn’t help.
Seriously, read the book,read the book though. It’s full of good stuff.

  1. Yes, I’m betraying my British origins. Analogue and catalogue will never look right to me without the ‘ue’. Deal.
  2. I don’t remember any teacher ever teaching us about creative writing while at school. We studied Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas and John Steinbeck and bloody bloody Keats — the same one poem two years in a row — but no-one ever talked to us about composition. And yet it was in every exam. Luckily I loved it, but since moving to the States, where they are teaching my kids about story structure in elementary school, I do find it odd that I never heard a thing in school about ‘rising action’ vs. ‘the middle’ or ‘climax’ vs. ‘the end’. Maybe it was a good thing. Maybe the fact that I only ever learned from masters (i.e. those writers I enjoyed reading) has affected my writing more than the pronouncements of a provincial teacher in their 20s every could have. Still odd, though.

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