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More fuzz than fizz

Something is wrong with me. It must be. I want to talk about my writing, my thoughts, and feelings concerning my current project, and yet every time I sit down, the desire flees and I stare blankly at the screen. Even my fingers begin to ache, compounding the negativism of the little voice that whispers, "Forget it; you've nothing important to say anyhow. You just want to ramble and whine."

Perhaps I'm under a curse of some kind. Now there's a fun thought for a writer of fantasy. Maybe I do
have something important to say--something important to me, I mean, not to the wide world in general--and a curse is preventing me from formulating it. Actually, this thought eerily mirrors something that happens to a character in The Bitter River. 

Anyhow,   footlingagain and I were recently conversing about a writer's pride (when goal! and communities! are involved, specifically) and when to say that you've done what you could with a project and it is time to let it sit for a while. The comments brought out an underlying problem I'm having with my WIP, which is that I'm not fully immersed in the world and characters. I've accepted that until I've done more research and mulled over some story aspects I'm just writing fodder for the shredder. And so? you say. That's what first drafts are, yada yada yada. I know, but I want more. I want passion while I write. I know that I've felt brief bursts of it since beginning this project, but those flares are such distant memories, I can't remember the heat or the light, only some vague recollection that tells me I once cared more than I do now.

It's not that I'm giving up on the project or think that it should always woo me with that first flush of attraction. I know it's more at the marriage stage; it's still good, and I want to work to keep it that way. The thing is, this project is a lot of work, much more than I'm used to. That writerly pride tells me that I *know* that, so I should move along to acceptance and get the first draft out, writing steadily, even I don't know what towards, until the Apr. 1st deadline I set for the first draft. Don’t set it aside. Buck up; write on! The “flighty” side of my brain says to ignore the pride and the self-imposed goal (which means nothing to anyone besides me anyhow) and just have a wild fling with a new project. Only problem, Little Miss Flighty isn’t flinging me any Write-Me-Now ideas.

So you hear that, LMF? If you want me to write something else, be more forthcoming. Until then, keep your discontent and bemoaning lack of passion to yourself.

In a spat of synchroncity, two other people on my flist touched on my feeling that I need to decide *something* with this project. First,  pjthompson
 posted about the instinctual writer, and I recognize my brain's way of working in what she says about her method. From that post and from my own mulling comes the thought that I need to just stop and wait for the rest of the brain to catch up(backtrack?) to whatever backbrain is snagged on. Nonetheless, I knew I would need more process time before I started. Actually, that's a fallacy. I haven't given my brain enough fodder for it to be chewing over anything in particular.

Second, I chatted with  friggtonight and she told me about her indecision over which project she wants to tackle when she has finally settled in enough to get back to writing. My predicament, too, in a way, only I’ve been settled for a while.

*sigh* The Bitter River, with its historical setting is just so outside anything I've written or attempted before. I can't say, Don't write it like TTD (meaning without a plan) because it will take forever. Because it IS going to take forever. There are too many things I'm going to have to research, too many incidentals that I have to nail. Too much peripheral knowledge I have to accrue.
I think the grist for my frustration mill is the project timeline I see stretching out endlessly before me. As  friggbemoaned, she wants to work on a new project but is compelled to complete another which is farther along and will give her a needed sense of accomplishment. I know The Bitter River isn’t going to give me that sense any time soon, so I guess I’m rambling until I give myself permission to set it aside if needs be until I can feel motivated/qualified to tackle it again. However, when I contemplate that, I’m afraid I’ll kill what interest I do have for the project, kind of like I did for To Be Undone, when I planned it all out and then didn’t let myself start on the narrative before my head was so crammed with random info that it wasn’t any good to me. 

Also, there is a double-edged thought to consider when setting aside TBR to take up something else. Side one, a lot of pressure on TBR to make it into something dazzling and presumption that could set me up for failure. Side two, if project X is so "brainless" is it really worth writing? I can't win. Either I take myself too seriously or not seriously enough.

Why am I still awake when I got so little sleep last night? *hears a voice, like those old, "This is a test of the emergency broadcast system" messages that says, "Please disregard this writer's idiotic ramblings. She makes no sense. She's very tired.*

*hits "post to mnfaure" before the voice changes her mind*


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 5th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
Sounds to me like you just need to trust yourself more. Trust yourself to know what you need to work on now and do less second-guessing once you've made a decision.
Feb. 6th, 2008 09:30 am (UTC)
*nods* I had to work my way around to the permission giving. Silly, I know, but finishing and being tenacious count for a lot in my mind, and even though I know I'm not quitting, it sometimes feels like it.
Feb. 6th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Unfortunately, I can't say I have much to add to that... but... it was a little hard to read with the tiny font. :-(
Feb. 6th, 2008 09:33 am (UTC)
Strange, it looks normal-sized on my monitor...
Feb. 6th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's my fault... I'll take another look when I get home. :-)
Feb. 6th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
No, it's probably mine. I transported text from LJ to Word, typed my entry there, and then made sure that all the text was in Arial 7pt, which is what it said the LJ text was in. However, that probably made it miniscule.

(May says it looks tiny, too)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 6th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC)
*lol* thanks for that.

This kind of plays along with a comment I just left in your blog about showing the clockwork. Even talking about my writing makes me feel vulnerable. I *want* to do it more often--it was, after all, the original reason for this blog--but I find that I can never quite bring myself to completely open up and be honest.

I'm beginning to think that honesty across the spectrum is somehow equated in my mind with telling EVERYthing and then qualifying all my statements so that there can be no misunderstanding. See how futile that is? I want to control the uncontrollabe, and, knowing I can't, I shut everything down and only a peep or two escapes from time to time.

Oy, I think I'm still tired this morning. :P
Feb. 6th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC)
Hmmm - you sound like you need to play a little bit more. And this project is so big, it seems too scary to play with - but it's not.

Hang onto your outline, but just do a couple of throwaway exercises - stream-of-consciousness, scene descriptions, diary entries for a character, anything that doesn't really matter but gives you a bit of playtime around the subject.

It might not work - but it's worth a try. And it might give you something you can clip and use later.
Feb. 6th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
Hang onto your outline, but just do a couple of throwaway exercises - stream-of-consciousness, scene descriptions, diary entries for a character, anything that doesn't really matter but gives you a bit of playtime around the subject.

Bwahaha, that's pretty much all I've been doing up until now. I think that my problem comes in when I suddenly look at it and think, "What crappy prose! Did you actually think this book might qualify as litterature, you schmuck?"

I know, I know. I gotta shut that voice up, but then it takes me down twisty uncomfortable roads of thought like, So, commercial fiction is inferior, then? Well, it being all you can write, that makes you inferior, too.

Why does my brain have to be such a belittling place?
Feb. 6th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry - didn't mean to add fuel to the fire :(

Perfectionism - it's hideous. Can't live with it - can't get rid of it.... But it kills any chance of creative play (and I know you know that. I think I'm coming out in sympathy pangs!)
Feb. 6th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, you didn't. My fires always blaze comfortably along on their own fuel.

And amen about perfectionism. I def have a love-hate relationship with it. I actually wouldn't want to be someone who settles for mediocre, but knowing I can never attain my ideal is a pretty hefty counter in the hate balance.
Feb. 6th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
(btw, I have been writing diary entries, etc. because it is the format of the book. Perhaps, however, I haven't written enough this-may-be-cut-later stuff. I've had a pretty good grasp on what needed to stay in, but of late, I'm seeing more I-know-this-is-probably-unnecessary tangents creeping in; and that may be the source of my recent bout of writerly woes.)
Feb. 6th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
Perhaps, however, I haven't written enough this-may-be-cut-later stuff.

Maybe. Getting the balance between wasting time on stuff you know you're unlikely to use and the stranglehold you want to keep on the outline is really difficult. As if you didn't know ;)
Feb. 6th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
*g* Actually I do my darnedest NOT to make a habit of writing stuff that I know I won't use. It seems so useless. So it isn't even a matter of balance for me but learning to do it, period. :P
Feb. 6th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Did you see the discussion on Ni90 about just getting words down?

Just in case you didn't, it's here

Some interesting points, I think.
Feb. 6th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
*nods* I did follow that thread. I wish I could say I was hoping for magic, but I'm not. :P I just want a little story lurve. Granted, it could come from pretty prose and scenes that hang together, but I've most often experienced it when it is feeding me ideas at odd moments during the day. And this story is pretty silent. That said, while I was trying to think of my 7 endings, I did have a little what-if moment that I might could work into this story. Time will tell. :D
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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