Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Writing Again

I will not jinx myself. I will not jinx myself. I will not jinx myself. *eyes shut tight, spin in a circle three times, jump up and down, jazz hands*  Whew. Now that I've protected myself with the revered Anti-Jinx spell (highly technical, obvs), we may continue.

There's an end in sight to the renovation, I swear. Every piece of sheetrock inches us closer. After the sheetrock there's spackling all ten thousandy-billion screws and seams, then washing six seven months of demolition dust out of the wood floors, and finally four coats of paint/primer. And then bedrooms!

Yes, it's overwhelming. I've been ready to finish for a while now. And even though there are still a million other things to do, I imagine we'll be taking it easy for at least a month lazing around and enjoying summer, and trying to regain our Carefree Young People status that we seem to have misplaced somewhere between "getting our own place" and "acquiring a whirlwind."

Don't get me wrong: having our own place is absolutely amazing and I would never pass it up, even knowing now how much work we'll have to put into it. It's just very hard to truly relax when you're sleeping in the dining room and walking around a pile of building materials in the living room, and your books may as well be in another state than just at your parents house for as often as you get to see them. (I miss my books.)

In any case, I've finally reached the point where the need to get the story out has outweighed everything else. (Yay!) I'm sitting down for an hour here and there, and writing a few pages each time. But more importantly, I'm thinking about the story constantly, and watching the scene run over and over in my head until I finally get a chance to commit more of it to paper. Work has calmed to a dull roar (that is, I've grown accustomed to juggling five books at a time, when my usual was two, maybe three), which gives me enough free brainspace to think about the story in the back of my mind (or the front, that happens too), something I haven't been able to do for several months.

Even though I knew every corner of my life was crazy and that it was okay not to write for the moment, that I would pick it up again when things had calmed a bit, it's nice to know that it was actually true. It hurt not to write, even though I had no energy for it I still wanted to do it. It was painful to watch characters come into being only to fade away because I couldn't tell their story. And I was worried that I'd lost it. You know, "it," the need to be more than just a reader, to be a creator as well.

I've also been seriously enjoying writing with pen and paper in a notebook. Probably more than I should, or is healthy. But frankly, I stare at a computer screen all day at work. The last thing I want to do is stare at a computer screen once I'm home. For a long time I always started a WIP on paper and eventually migrated to the keyboard because I thought I can't be a "serious" writer if I don't take it "seriously," in other words, treating it like a job (read: taking all the fun out of it). So I'm going to be a hopeless romantic and write with a pen and paper and let that feed my soul. It also helps separate work writing and fun writing. Yes, it's much slower. Everything has it's sacrifices. I also can't click and drag or add paragraphs where I left important information out, and there is a lot of flipping back and forth before I can finish a scene. But I love it. I love the feeling of the paper and I love flipping through and looking at all the pages I've filled.

Plus, I feel much safer carrying a notebook with me than my laptop. Not that I'm worried about getting mugged, or anything (not that it can't happen, I just don't bother worrying about it). But I always feel guilty if I bring my laptop on the train, only to read the whole time and never pull it out. And then it stays locked in my file cabinet all day. And then on the way home it's too crowded and there's no way I'm going to write when ten people can be reading over my shoulder. It's too cold, too technical for writing. At least, that's how I feel about it right now. I worry about my laptop. I worry about losing the only file of my draft in freak accidents. I have this deep-rooted mistrust of all things technological. I think this stems partly from growing up in an old house with above-ground power lines that lost power constantly, and partly because I have an irrational fear of the apocalypse wiping out all traces of human existence. The fire or flooding that may threaten my notebook (and is much more reasonable) doesn't hold a candle to my fear of a freak solar flare wiping out the world's computing abilities. It doesn't make sense, I know. And printing out periodic versions of my drafts doesn't seem to help, either. So I'll stick with the notebook, thanks.

Have some articles I've been enjoying lately:
Writing Magic by Chuck Wendig
I Sneak into your Brain and Make you Think my Thoughts by Maggie Stiefvater
On Revising: Embrace Tedium, Embrace Chaos by Kristin Cashore
On Writing Despair (Juicebox Mix) by Libba Bray

Keep on keeping on, peeps.

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