Sunday, January 24, 2010

Automatic Writing??

Sipping on a Caesar. It's not helping. I've been staring at my binder and my keyboard for approximately three hours. I have written three paragraphs. That's a paragraph an hour. Really? On top of that, I'm pretty sure I'm throwing those out. No, I'm not working on my novel. I'm working on a writing exercise given to me by a friend. These are the instructions:

Complete a page of automatic writing to one of 10 opening phrases.

Out of the ten, you're supposed to decide what jumps at you. The ones I chose were:

The most frightening person in my childhood was...
Was I anxious to grow up?
If I ever get a chance to avenge myself...
The person I wish I could bring back is...

You then brainstorm any ideas, images, words etc. and write them down in circles around the sentences. Then you make connections between those words, and then you write your story. Sounds simple right? Automatic writing....

There's nothing automatic about my writing. I don't know how to do that. I once heard Sarah McLachlin say that writing doesn't come easily for her, that it's like getting blood from a stone. I am somewhat comforted by this, because of I love Sarah McLachlin's music. The difference is, at the end of a hard day/week/month's writing, she is left with a piece of art. I am left with a piece of crap.

What to do, what to do...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where To Go From Here

So...once again, it's been a very long time since I wrote last. I'd rather not give an update on my boring life just now. What I want is to rant about my lack of writing skills.

I've taken a long time off from my little book project. Did I mention that I've basically finished my first draft? Yeah, that was how many months ago? I've lost track. I decided to take some time off before I started working on my second draft. There was of course a completely logical reason for this. I've read that it's a good thing to do, to take time off between drafts, to clear your head, come back to your story with a fresh mind. Only, I'm not sure that's the real reason. What is the real reason? I don't know. That I'm a slacker? That I'm lazy? An under-achiever? Or maybe just not smart enough, or talented enough? Not creative enough. I felt hopeful for a little while, that maybe I had finally realized what I am meant to do with my life. I'm 32 and I still haven't come close to figuring that one out. Everyone I know has their shit together more than me. Okay, maybe not my drug-addicted cousin. But at least he's figured out that he needs rehab. I have no idea what I need.

My lack of motivation aside, I also have no idea how to go about working on my second draft. It needs a LOT of work. You can barely call it a story as it is now. It's a collection of scenes and when you put them all together, it's like a 500 page novel. But I'm not sure it even makes sense. I know there's a lot of scenes I need to add, and probably a lot of scenes I need to delete. I also know how I can re-work sentences to make them better and check my spelling. That is all obvious stuff. What I don't know, is how to make this story into a work of art. I don't want it to be just be some mediocre story. I want it to be brilliant. And then I get scared. Because then I start thinking about how not brilliant the premise of my story is. How not brilliant I am.

My anxiety and insecurities aside, I really don't know what to do! I feel so overwhelmed with the idea of re-working my story. There's too much information. Too many pages. Too many words. How can I keep it all straight? Then there's questions like, was it the right thing to do, to write this whole book from the first-person point of view of my main character? Or should I have mixed it up a bit? How much backstory of my major characters do I give? Did I give too much? Not enough? Did I deliver their stories in a really unimaginative way? I really just want to scream.

And speaking of wanting to scream, why do I feel so RESTLESS? I feel restless, but I feel tired. Always. I need a change, but I'm so afraid. And on that depressing note, I am going to sign out.