The world sparkles

I… I wrote a thousand words in less than an hour. How did I do that? How did my fingers move so fast?

I felt like I do during Nanowrimo, like I just needed to get it all out as fast as I could. As if nothing mattered except having the narrative exist outside of my brain. Like lightning in my hands, like the keyboard couldn’t respond fast enough.

The world sparkles when that happens. Everything fades but the screen and the keys and the sound of tapping and the feeling of the letters springing into life at the cursor. Almost religious, really. I’ve always said that writing doesn’t make me happy, per se; it’s hard to explain how I feel, but it doesn’t make me happy the way that breathing doesn’t make me happy. It’s just something that I have to do. I’m compelled to write, in order to exist.

What does make me happy is when I read over something I wrote and realize that yes, it is good. That it can make me cry, or bring me joy, or evoke all the feelings that I felt as I relive the scene in my imagination. I like to know that I can do this, that my work has merit and quality beyond myself. I want it to sparkle for other people, not just for me.

Yes, even knowing that not everyone will like it and all that. It’s just a thing. I live in the hope, possibly the vain hope, that more than ten people will read my work and honestly like it.

//shay

Procrastination still creeps up on me

I didn’t use the Pomodoro timer, and it was surprising how fast I managed to get to a thousand words. But I did it, dear friends. I wrote almost twelve hundred words yesterday, not including my blog post.

Something tells me my typing speeds will get much faster if I continue in this fashion.

I’ve decided that I should be held accountable in some way. I will continue to report my word count here, as long as I am blogging. I expect that I will fail sometimes. Procrastination still creeps up on me, and then I look at the clock and realize how late it is, and I panic at the thought that I still have work to do before I sleep.

I persevere. I have more narrative in me than I know; I think we all do, if we truly want to write. It’s just a matter of letting it all out. Fact is, writing is perhaps 10% innate talent, and 90% practicing and learning and analyzing and improving and practicing again.

Keyboards at the ready… let us never be defeated by ourselves.

//shay

1000 words

Sometimes I forget: as fast as I get sick, I can bounce back just as fast. I had to miss a day of work, but hours of sleep and watching Netflix have helped me immensely. I’m starting to mend.

So I have decided that I will attempt to write a thousand words a day. I need to get my head in the game somehow, and I think I need to be forced. Words here don’t count, of course; the words have to be in the service of actual writing, whether it’s another short story or a book or whatever.

I’m wondering what’s the best way to go about it, other than simply opening up Scrivener and letting loose. I suspect there is no particular best way. There is just the page, and the keyboard in front of me, and I have ten working fingers and a brain that itches with narrative. But for the sake of timekeeping, I may stick to the Pomodoro method, so at least I can measure my words per minute.

//shay

The cold has gotten worse

Much as I don’t want to blog about being sick all the time, here I am. The cold is threatening to turn into another bad sinus infection. Nothing seems to help. I’ve been woken up at 2am, coughing because I can’t breathe properly. It makes me feel so fuzzy and tired.

I have things to write. But being sick makes it so hard to get my head in the right space, to access the creative sphere and just let it flow. On top of everything else I need to do to just exist, from day to day, I should still write. I hurt too much.

Cold medicine doesn’t seem to work. I may have to try painkillers, and hope that that will be enough to let me sleep. The headache in my sinuses bothers me the most.

Perhaps I just need to push myself. Just write, even if it’s terrible, even if it’s utterly incoherent. A thousand words a day? Could I do that much? It only takes a week or two of constant repetitions to make something a habit.

//shay

Writing space

I find myself needing a space in which to write. Not just a physical space; I need mental space, and mental clarity. I’m thinking of asking for time off work.

I’m not writing enough because I’m crowded in by my thoughts. So many things to think, so much to process; it’s a distraction from within. I can’t escape myself, no matter how hard I try. I need to find a place of quiet, or I’ll never get anything done.

I’ve often had a vision of a place that would be perfect for writing. It would be a library, but with many comfortable chairs all around for people to sit and read. It would have convenient hot beverages, free wifi, and a strict set of rules to enforce the serenity of the environment. I could sit and write for hours, sipping green tea, and encapsulated in my own small bubble.

Someday.

//shay

On hooks and stories

I missed another daily post! Dammit all to hell. This one will be longer to make up for it.

I’ve been reflecting on what I consider to be good among my own writing. The problem is, the stuff that I think of as being real quality is fan fiction, and not really something I can spread around too far. It exists, though, and I’m glad I wrote it – even if much of it is basically porn without plot.

The secret, you see, is that writing well isn’t actually that hard. Producing quality prose is largely a matter of practice, and getting to grips with the mechanics of storytelling¬†as a craft. What’s really difficult is coming up with a compelling story, and sparking enough imagination in a reader’s mind that they desperately want to continue because they must know what happens next.

It’s hard because there isn’t really any kind of skill you can apply to it. You can either write narrative that sinks into the mind and grips the audience, or you can’t. I know this because I know of several writer friends, those that I highly respect, who can produce excellent prose… but their stories lack some indefinable quality that hooks the reader. I don’t believe that study of story structure or the Hero’s Journey can really help, either. There is a flow and a rhythm to narrative that seems indefinable sometimes, like music.

That hook is almost more important than actual quality work. Readers will forgive many sins if the premise is sufficiently promising.

That said, a good premise is easily ruined by truly terrible writing. Bad prose is an effective barrier to the reader truly engaging with a story. But it’s a truth that should be acknowledged more often that merely serviceable prose is good enough for a story premise that really wows the reader, whereas excellent prose can’t save a premise that’s pass√© and boring.

For the record, I’m pretty sure my ability to write a good premise is only average at best.

//shay

A New Look

Because I haven’t already redone my blog a million times…

Procrastination is a horrible thing. I’ve been through ten different themes in the last few hours when I should have been writing. But I get so utterly hung up on the mechanics of finding a style or look I personally like… It all came together when I found the new header photo. It’s a painting by Impressionist artist¬†Konstantin Razumov, and I swear that I will find the money to buy one of his works someday.

Art makes my soul feel at peace.

So once more into the design breach, dear friends. I thought I needed to at least look the part if I’m going to be serious about this writing thing.

//shay