Welcome to the writing log, in which I tell you how my writing progressed or didn’t during the previous day. (Character names and other details will be mentioned judiciously to protect what I’m working on, obviously.)
5 Dec 2014 & 6 Dec 2014
Word Count: 595 in fiction / 1166 in blog posts
Writing Summary: I’ve officially started chapter 10, and I’m finally getting through the introduction of a scene that I’ve had written for the better part of a year. Meanwhile, I think my main character’s female co-star is jealous that he gets to wear more makeup than she does throughout the entire story.
The last writing log discussed conflict and my penchant for characters who don’t know they could be heroes (because they’re too busy being the bane of everyone’s existence).
Thoughts: In both writing and art, you’ll often hear about the fear of the white page. This is, basically, a prelude to the “just get started–make a mark, any mark” advice. This usually refers to the work as a whole, but it can also apply to starting a new chapter.
Despite knowing what happens in the next few chapters, I don’t always know how they begin. I tend to procrastinate for this reason, sometimes picking up the computer to get started only to put it back down again because I’ve decided to make tea or toast. Snack-making somehow turns into movie watching, which then turns into napping. And then I wake up and have to start over from scratch because I have nap lag, and I’ve also lost most of the day. The thought of starting fresh in a new chapter gives me a feeling of exhaustion that, too often, I let dictate my actions.
Giving myself permission to let the opening paragraphs just be what they are is something I tell myself I have, but not something that I always believe. I struggle with the first paragraph or two, which usually involves a lot of huffing, puffing, whining and eye rolling, as well as the occasional disagreement about whether the computer or the cat belongs in my lap. (The cat usually insists that he gets dibs.)
But once I get past that point, I can usually move forward at a decent clip. If I wouldn’t force myself to labor for so long over the details, I could move forward quicker and with less headache.
But let’s face it. That’s not what people do.
I don’t mind struggling a bit, because I know I’ll get there. And besides that, the “make a mark, any mark” method actually does work for me. If I’m stuck for too long, I sometimes begin stream-of-consciousness free writing to trick myself into falling into a rhythm. A lot of the time, finding the rhythm is all I need to do to fall into the actual story.