The other day I realized that on my novel in progress, I have a ton of scenes written, but almost no thread of continuity when it comes to structure. I’ve decided to start drawing things together and as I have been writing, I am coming across a strange phenomenon. I am discovering that I have been unwittingly rewriting chapters. Some better, and some not as good as the originals that have been buried underneath scenes and partial chapters in my Scrivener documents.
Sometimes the scenes are exactly the same, with the same similies and metaphors, other times they are just slightly skewed, but the concept is there, just taken from a different angle. So, I’ve been stitching some of these together, weeding out the paragraphs that aren’t written as well.
I think what I am learning in this process is that the story is a good one. It carries with it a lot of undenable Truth, and even when I have forgotten that I have already written a scene, I later find it. The scene needs to be told, it has to be revealed, and that’s just what is happening.
I once heard a big time writer say that they don’t carry a moleskein notebook around with them, because if the idea is good enough, they can afford to forget it, because it will come back later when they need it. This seems to be a hybrid of writing down everything and then the idea coming back later.
One of the reasons I love Scrivener is that I can leave it on all day long, and if I have an idea or a thread of dialog, I can just hop on, click the new button and go to town writing it, without the lag and bullshit of a typical Word document.
The drawback is that I can leave it on all day long, and once I hop on and click the new button and go to town, it just gets lost in a giant jumble of other files, which I cannot for the life of me keep track of.
Today has been a day of a lot of just forcing myself to sit and work. Which is very, very hard to do sometimes. I have had only a handful of people in my life who have understood what I need to do. Even if they don’t understand how I can peck away for hours on a story, to disappear completely for days at a time, at least they get that for my own mental wellbeing I need to do this. If I don’t write for a while, they can tell. Like a good grandma who asks if you’ve eaten, they have asked “When was the last time you wrote?”
It’s lonely because a lot of people don’t understand that, especially if they punch a clock at work. Writing isn’t something I turn off when the end of the days hits. It’s something I am constantly doing. Whether it is an assignment with a deadline and cash on the line or if it is the story and I have to pull over and jot something down. Lots of “Can Clinton come out and play?” to which I have to say, “Sorry. He’s busy. He wants to, but that’s all he will do if you let him.”
At least that is the plan on how it should work. Sometimes I play entirely too much. And with every early night in bed, I hate myself a little bit more because it was another day wasted when I could have been writing.
So if you have a writer in your life, don’t ask them how the writing is going. And if you don’t hear from them much, that is a GOOD THING. This is a 60+ hours per week job. Let’s be honest, sometimes we write in our sleep if the dream is good enough. We might be fun at parties, but all too often we don’t want the party to stop. Until we need it to stop. And then it is full blackout for fun. I dated a woman for a while who often told me her daydream of sitting with me in the room while I worked and she would read or draw and bring me coffee or whiskey, depending on my needs. Yeah, we never did this. I was much too interested in having fun whenever she was around. I’m a lock myself in my office and put on the headphones writer. Even my own son has given me excuses to just say fuck it and go do something else. Because parenting! My dog has been known to enable me to do anything else. Because ball!
The Facebook crash the other day showed me how often I was checking in on distractions, rather than just use my time better.
If you want me happy, just let me work. Yes. I’m lonely. Yes. I’m boring. But I’m doing something good for myself that needs to be done. It beats the alternative of hating myself at 11pm and knowing that I lost another day to distractions.