Sometimes there is something lurking that you don’t want to write.
You push it aside and try to focus on other things, but it just starts screaming at you like a hungry kid that smells brownies.
You wake up and it’s sitting at the foot of the bed, drinking your coffee. It nags at you when you look in the mirror as you wash your hands. It has all the time in the world to wait, so it just lingers in the corner of your eye.
Maybe you’ll get drunk and it can sneak its way out on a stray piece of paper. It’s possible it could skip past you while you are working and find a home in a picture you doodled.
It lives. It whispers. It whimpers. It wields power that you didn’t even give it.
It will probably win.
The greatest enemy of a writer probably isn’t a lack of imagination. Some of the least effective wordsmiths have grand ideas but not so eloquent execution. The biggest demon that resides in all writers is that we can see the story but we are burdened with bringing as much of it to life as possible.
No writer can ever put forth the entirety of the world they envision. In some ways, it is kind of sad that readers never get to experience the full depths of the narratives they know and love. True, the observer has the advantage of injecting their own imagery into the tale. This option to fill in the blanks sounds like it would be a godsend to the writer, but it leaves us unsure of where to reign it in.
There are some who don’t even bother to develop or describe the protagonist anymore, leaving it to the reader to fill the void with themselves. Do we dismiss this as lazy writing? Is it genius to involve the reader in the crafting of the story with such a personal touch?
We are left to gauge the unspoken, the hidden, and the implied with every stroke and key press. How much do we give? Too much and we are dinged for being too wordy, too little and we are hacks who deserve horrible demises no matter how many people enjoy our work.
Let’s all be hacks together…
I’m not a Writer.
I’ve never claimed to be a Writer and don’t like lying to people. Writers introduce people to worlds and ideas where I am limited to glimpses of scenes that don’t ever meet.
I’m more of a Jotter.
That kind of sounds dirty when you say it. It’s almost as if I am skanking up the real writer pool by even bothering to muddle up paper with tiny ideas that never go anywhere. I’m petrified and confused whenever anyone reads anything that ekes its way out of my mind.
After bouts of insecurity and self loathing, I read something written by someone who is acclaimed for reasons that seem like they can only be due to some form of devil worship in their favor. What passes for great literature just makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry sometimes.
So I decide to just keep jotting down random things until one day I can cut and paste together a decent work. In thinking everything I put down is crap, I guess that I am indirectly saying that it would fit right in with the works of some really rich folks who wouldn’t know character development if it shoved its hand up their backside.
I guess I’m a Jotter because I care too much.
I don’t want to just churn something out to make a buck. I want to weave an intriguing tale. I want the reader to see what the characters see. I want the audience to ride the emotional roller coaster with them, just hopefully not so upset that I get death threats when a character is offed or anything. The evil editor lives in this space.
It isn’t that the words aren’t good enough for me. I’ve seen the story already. Producing the pages that reflect the images of the narrative happens in spurts due to me trying to capture each moment perfectly for the reader.
I’m a Jotter working the snowball effect.
The least efficient writing process ever:
Sit at desk and open new document.
Wonder if person replied to email from yesterday, so check email. Then check other emails. Inbox zero all around.
Stomach rumbles. Take break to eat and drink something.
Turn TV on while eating. Watch 3 episodes of random crap.
Sit back down. Hack out a little bit.
Let mind wander after a paragraph closes, forget what you were doing for a bit.
Remember the document and crank out a bit more.
Think it isn’t quite right. Reread and reread.
Elect to fix it tomorrow afternoon. Save draft.
Put it off until completely forgotten.
One of the biggest issues I have had with writing things is unclawing them long enough for someone else to read them. I have been jotting things down on the web for years but only a small fraction of it is ever allowed to hit a search engine. Name a place that has some form of restricted access journaling/blogging, and I probably have an account there.
I write something every single day. Most of it is lost to the paper shredder and entirely too much is lost from me using an old computer and programs that don’t autosave. I tend to hate what I write anyway, so these things don’t bother me. Whatever bits that survive are fairly hidden anyway, so why fuss about the quality?
I am rather terrified of some things making it to a front page somewhere and people freaking out reading it. I know this is probably not uncommon, many people deal with this and still face their fears regardless. I think that it is time to just grin and bear it.
Hopefully it gets really interesting.