Saturday, March 18, 2006

Writerly Wrumination

Writing is a very personal thing for some people, myself included. When people I work with discover that I'm writing fiction in my spare time, they ask me questions like what is it? What is your story about? Is it a fantasy? Does it have castles? These are things I'm sure many a writer has dealt with when their "secret" is discovered by the people they see on a daily basis.

The current writing project isn't my first attempt, but right now, I know it is my strongest attempt at telling a novel-length story. I've been a lot more consistent with my writing schedule, writing at least five days a week, and very often seven days a week. Is all of it my best work? I don't know, I don't have enough distance yet to judge the quality, but more often than not when I finish my writing for the morning or night, the day seems a lot better. However, when I refer to something, which occurred at an earlier point in my story, I do read some of what I wrote a month or a week ago and a big smile grows on my face. I have the sense that, yes, I have something of a clue about this writing thing.

Another strange thing about funneling your creative energies into fiction writing is how the brain must be continually "on." Writer's jobs never finish once the computer is turned off, and I know that statement is no schematic for wheel reinvention. I'm a person who goes to the gym three, mostly four days a week. What do you think I do between reps and sets? Work out plot points of my novel, or I hone the dialogue I want my characters to use, of course. For some reason, exerting physical energy also allows me to focus my mental and creative energy. This writing, it is really a continual thing.

Take for example this past week. I've been mulling over a plot hurdle for a while now, trying to figure out exactly why a put a character in certain place. I knew the motivation, I had a pretty clear idea of the end result of his visit to this place, and I was trying to work out the specifics of some of the intermediary points. After doing a set of bicep curls, or some other exercise, it came to me. I laid out, perhaps subconsciously, reasons earlier in the story that would logically funnel into later portions of the narrative.

It was at that point I felt like "Yeah, maybe I DO have a good idea of this writing thing." I'm sure the other people doing their workouts in my area were wondering why a huge grin suddenly appeared on my unshaven face, but I wasn't going to tell them. Writing is a personal thing. Besides, they can find out when I publish the book.

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