10 Jan 2018
I divide my writing into two categories: when it’s done in a rush and when it’s thorough. The daily posting schedule requires speed and uninterrupted production – I sit my ass down every day, stare at a blank page on the lap top and begin the word count-down. It doesn’t matter if I’m pre-writing or just about meeting the deadline, the process is roughly the same speed and distractions are at an all-time high. I think maybe it’s the pressure, like I jump off my chair and pace around the room like I can’t deal or looking for a muse or something. Sometimes, when I don’t know what to say (if this is shocking you, this is shocking me, too) I force myself to stay put until something half-clever vaguely appears and I claw at it. Who was it that used to chain himself to his own chair when he sat to write his novels? Emile Zola? I totally relate. I could definitely use an assistant whose sole purpose would be to tie me to a chair with ropes and then undo me when I have to go to the bathroom and then do me back up again. I would be willing to pay money for this invaluable service. No prior training needed.
But then you’ve paced the room, you’ve thrashed yourself about the chair and when the morning comes you upload the finished post onto your own blog and bam – it is a very satisfying feeling.
The other way I write, the thorough way, is different. This is when I work on my Creative Writing club pieces for each of which I have a month. The biggest problem is conceiving the idea. For example, this January it’s The Lady That Fed The Birds and it has taken me weeks to think of what to talk about – weeks! I had never in my life created a character, had never been taught how to create one and will never know if the job I’ve done is anything but mediocre. In fact, I wanted to skip it this month, but then said “F-ck it, challenge accepted”. Writing is the only thing I ever do that doesn’t involve my daughter Sofia, the club is the only place where public speaking (if you can call reading to about 15 people that) doesn’t paralyse me and turn me into a social idiot. If I start skipping the only thing I am half comfortable with I will be left with nothing of value again. I don’t want to go back to having/doing nothing of value.
This type of writing, one where I have time and after the idea had been created, is my favourite. I can dedicate entire hours or only do a few minutes’ sprints here and there, I can read the pieces to myself out loud, I can add, cut, massage, play with the words and the sentences, I can SEE my own imagination, if that makes sense, as in I can see visions in my head which I am going to attempt to describe. I can love it, I can hate it, I can love it again. These are the works that make me feel alive, they are the labour, they are the ones that push me to think and speak beautifully, to exercise control and let my OCD run rampage. Sometimes I would focus on a single word that doesn’t sound quite right and spend a day going through the entire internal vocabulary until a replacement is found and I am at peace. It really is incredible.
Unless you’re into work thirst, writing of either kind is not a romantic notion. I thought it was, but I was wrong. It is boring and difficult and frustrating. Imagine being unhappy about a single word in a thousand-word piece and feeling unable to calm down because of it. You keep reading it out to yourself first by itself, then in a sentence, then, when it still sounds as sh-t as you’d thought, you grab the paragraph in hope that “the bigger picture” will guide you and align your feelings with your lexicon. When it does though, omg, its sparkles and unicorns in the brain!
You want proof? Here is Taylor Swift with the proof. I could watch this for days, I HAVE watched this for days. The word “inspiring” isn’t what I’m looking for, not a fan of the word in general, or of Taylor’s music for that matter, but this is turning me well on. Every word is checked on, replaced, put back in again, rinse and repeat. So I guess songs don’t just appear when an artistic one-in-a-million genius is in their sleep – Taylor Swift is dispelling that bullocks myth. It’s a beautiful process, isn’t it?