Dinner with Cera & Ken was lovely. Cera and I have been entirely failing to have time to talk for about a decade, so that was nice, and we knew each other when I was crucifying myself to demonstrate heroic love for someone that didn’t appreciate or believe it and she was having difficulties of her own. We agree that we are both astonishingly more stable and happy now, and blame a large part of that one Ken & Shannon. Love feast all around.
Of feasts: the food was OMG!!!11!BBQ!!111BVDs good. I had wild boar nachos, Shannon’s carne asada and tequilas (one of which was amazing) and bites of Cera’s tongue (the meat on her plate was tongue, you pervs) (dammit), all of which were extraordinary.
Today I was cruising the intarwebs looking for a suitable writing prompt –
Right. Why, you might ask, and you’d be damned insightful to ask it, do you need writing prompts when you’re dealing with a novel? Well might you ask. I’ve notice, over the last few months, that my will is not sufficient to overcome exhaustion and time constraints. Amazing, to me anyway, that my mind is unable to beat down biology and physics. Huhn.
In times like these, when I notice that I am failing in heroic accomplishment, I turn on me and rend my self-esteem. Sadly, this is one of those habits that must fall by the wayside, for I have Achieved, and what I have Achieved may well be a facet of Enlightenment. To wit: There may be other choices than 1) Heroic Accomplishment and 2) Utter Failure.
So. I have been demonstrating that there are some time and energy issues, but that doesn’t mean I must give up entirely nor yet budgeon my way forward when I am not up to the task. I could change pace or task. Changing pace, for me, on a novel is very difficult. When I write something (this, for instance) I tend to immerse. I have a sense of what has gone before, and the direction and terrain over which I’ve yet to go, and then improv my way over the landscape. It works for me, mostly. The difficulty comes when I can’t immerse (see time and energy constraints, above). It’s hard to pick up that sense of the landscape in 15 minute bursts and get anything done…it’s even hard in hour-long bursts. More time than that is sort of hard for me to come by, and there’s been this deferred-gratification thing while I work the novel over and over.
Hell, there’s been a no-gratification thing going. My first draft was so disjointed that I felt I hadn’t done anything useful. I didn’t trash it, but I’m doing a blank-page rewrite — starting over. Painful. So, essentially, all that trial and tribulation, and I’ve nothing to share, nothing to read (without pain), and no feeling of accomplishment. But I am heroic, and will bludgeon forward without reward, my pain and my effort sufficient to make me feel that I am satisfyingly … ah … stupid. Right. So.
So, when I have time and energy, I will work the novel. When I have less of those commodities, I will grab writing prompts and write short stories. My short stories tend to be less than 5k at most, and, if they come at all, come in bursts. They are limited in scope, so are easy to keep in my head and re-enter at will. They are, in short, better suited to my current abilities
– looking for a suitable writing prompt, and came across The First Line, which has a kick-ass prompt this time around. A bit of looking, and I realized that this prompt is due day after tomorrow; I’ve another 24-hour writing gig, if I take this up. If I do, then I will have another story complete and out for consideration.
I found that having one out for consideration was very motivating. Two (after last weekend) made me actually confident again. What would a third be like?
So I have resolved me a mighty resolve. I will either be working the novel or I will be taking the next writing prompt off the list (whatever the list might be — I’m thinking just working my way through The First Line’s back-issues, to start with) and write shorts. If a short fails, I won’t belabor it, I will retire it with what dignity it can carry, and move to the next, slogging through the million words that each author must face and getting practice, accomplishment, and things out there for consideration all the while. Much better, I feel, than my usual all-or-nothing, Kryptonians-only-need-apply plans.
Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry