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Owning the brokenness

The manuscript I'm working on, the one I promised to finish a draft of by Sept 1st because I believed it was pretty sound--unfinished ending aside--is broken.

It is painful, but I must admit that my memory of a fairly sound draft does not match the reality. There is no way I can uphold my promise to Julien to have it submission-worthy by Nov 1, no way to meet my own standards in the time I have.  Especially since the story is not singing to me, not even humming. It sounds like an excuse to say that, to try to get out of writing because I don't feel hot, passionate, consuming story love. So many times I've read about the importance of showing up, of sticking with the story and pushing past any discourage sloughs of Blah. But. But.

I have so much to do, so many projects, and a baby who is a major monopolizer of my time and energy; and I think, why?  Why should I pursue something that my heart is not in right now?  Why shouldn't I turn my passion and my spare moments to working on something that brings me joy?

I promised, that's why. But when the black hole of no-inspiration-and-even-less-desire strikes*, that doesn't seem a good enough reason.

I told frigg that I should perhaps work on two projects simultaneously, only working on the "fun" project (WW2) after spending a set amount of time on the "promise" project.  Time, though, is in short supply.  Now I just sound whiny.

I just need to make time. And get inspired.

Anyone want to share how they get fired up about/deal with a project that has fizzled?


_____________
* can a black hole strike? :P

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
frigg
Sep. 17th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

Have you considered thinking about it as a job? Remember at university where you had 1 week to hand in a paper and somehow you always managed to do it?

Not saying that you should "hand in" by Nov. 1st, especially not if it's not ready, but more to use the mind-set to sit down and write every day and make some progress without waiting for inspiration or the mood to strike, but just as something that needs to be done, like scrubbing the toilet and doing laundry.

...and yeah, look who's talking. :p
mnfaure
Sep. 17th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
bwahaha. *looks*

As I was typing up the entry, I kept think of pro writers on deadlines, and my snarky self kept saying that I am not a pro (and probably never will be, so there). Snarky Self likes making excuses.

I actually thought the handy ol' procrastination/last minute save-my-butt activity would kick in and get the promised rough draft finished by Sept. Just like it kicked in and got all of those uni assignments done on the eve of their due dates. But no. Maybe because I didn't have a kid back then? :P
frigg
Sep. 17th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
Well yeeeees, but unlike those uni assignments you don't have to commit 10 hours a day to them, but maybe just 30 minutes? ;)
mnfaure
Sep. 17th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
10 hrs a day? Was i supposed to give so much time? >:}
frigg
Sep. 17th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
Bwhahahaha
asakiyume
Sep. 18th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
See, I am a weak-willed person who gives in to the voice inside that makes excuses... so I am a terrible adviser.

If finishing this is fundamentally important, if that in itself is important, then what frigg says makes good sense to me. Gritting your teeth and just doing it, and not worrying about quality, but just Bataan marching on through it, to have a finished thing--well, you can do that, I believe, because I believe you can do all sorts of things. And generally, if you are able to write for more than 15 minutes at a time (and believe me, I understand that this is not a given...), and if you can write for more than one or two days a week, you will *probably* find some pleasure coming back, just by the force of having to do it.

But--this is the devil in me speaking, so close your ears and hum, if you don't want to be tempted--IS this a project that you absolutely must finish? Now? Is a life changing experience like having a baby not allowed to change your perceptions of things' relative importance? Are you not allowed to reassess the story and feel differently about it? Again, though, I don't know your history with the story and what it means to you.

Bottom line: I think you CAN push through and finish it. But whether you MUST or not is another matter.
sunflower_sky
Sep. 18th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)
What she said. ^^^^

(Disclaimer: I, too, totally do not deserve to comment, because I have abandoned many stories and indeed writing altogether for the time being. But I've always been a "when inspiration strikes" writer. I just can't produce anything creative of any kind of quality under pressure. (I SPIT on NaNoWriMo. SPIT!) Which may explain why I haven't done any of it for such a long time... but that's the reality and I've accepted it.)

~D
mnfaure
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
You know what?

I actually NaNo'ed a great deal of this MS years and years ago. And many times since, I've wondered if in doing that I did not kill that spark that first made me love it.

:-
mnfaure
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
...you will *probably* find some pleasure coming back, just by the force of having to do it.

This is what I keep hoping will happen. So, I sit down with my good intentions of writing, and indeed, I follow through for a few days, and then some distraction--valid, necessary, or...not--and I fall off the writing wagon, right before that pleasure has a chance to take root.

Determination and persistence needed!

Are you not allowed to reassess the story and feel differently about it?

I definitely need to sit down and assess and reassess and get to the bottom of my feelings.

So much has happened in my life and circumstances since I first conceived of this story, and I've long since burned through that first delectable breadcrumb that set me down this path.
mindseas
Sep. 18th, 2011 12:20 pm (UTC)
I've always been an inspiration-driven writer too, but what inspired me never turned out to be something other people liked. I suppose if one is going to be a pro writer one has to look at writing more as a craft than as an art, more as work than play. But I'm only saying this as someone incapable of doing that, so I have no solution. Perhaps there are rare occasions when art and craft, work and play merge. If so, I'm still waiting for the lightning to strike...
mnfaure
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Perhaps there are rare occasions when art and craft, work and play merge. If so, I'm still waiting for the lightning to strike...

Yes! I want to get hit by that lightning so bad. But I guess I can compare my current circumstances and lack of trying with this current MS to being indoors in a house bristling with lightning rods. I say I want the lightning, but I'm sure not out there chasing it...
jongibbs
Sep. 18th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
{{{{Hugs}}}}

Here's my suggestion:

Take a week off, during which time you're not allowed to even think about your 'broken' ms - you will anyway, but it's the intention that counts.

Work on something new and shiny until the week's up.

Go back over the ms and make a note of all the things you like about it (only the good stuff, no neggy-negatives), then ask yourself the $64,000 question:

Is there enough good stuff to make it worth fixing the bad? If so, have at it. Your sub-conscious has already been working on finding a way, so you may find it much easier than you first thought.

Hope that helps. Good luck :)

Edited at 2011-09-18 05:58 pm (UTC)
mnfaure
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
Is there enough good stuff to make it worth fixing the bad?

This is indeed the $64,000 question. You've made me realize that I need to do some intense assessing beyond "am I feeling this MS or not?!"

Thank you!

jongibbs
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC)
I hope you get the answer you want :)
asakiyume
Sep. 20th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
What an amazingly cool suggestion. I'm going to remember this myself, for when I'm in similar situations. Thanks :-)
jongibbs
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC)
:)
clarentine
Sep. 19th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Speaking for myself, I can attest that being just plain tired can affect in a huge manner my ability to reach that state where I can create words. Stress and all the things that went with moving (twice!) with people and creatures dependent upon me meant it took me two years to rewrite a manuscript. There were many days I got not one word. When I simply could not brain, no matter how much time I had to stare at my computer screen. Did I finish? Yes. Was it fun? Hell, no. I only kept going because I got crazier the longer I stayed away from making the attempt to work on the writing.

Your situation is not mine, of course, but I think it's worth observing that there is value both in (a) flogging oneself forward regardless of how worthy one thinks one's work is and (b) cutting oneself some slack when no amount of flogging is producing forward motion. Cannot is not the same as don't wanna. My suggestion: try identifying your location on that spectrum and adjust your game plan accordingly.
mnfaure
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
I can attest that being just plain tired can affect in a huge manner my ability to reach that state where I can create words.

A huge lightbulb went off in my head when I read this. It makes me realize how out of touch I've gotten with myself as a creative writer person.

I need to do some resourcing (Do we say that in English?).
clarentine
Sep. 20th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
I need to do some resourcing (Do we say that in English?).

If we do, I don't understand the idiom. >:-) I'm glad I could light up your day, anyway!
mnfaure
Oct. 26th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
I was cleaning out my inbox and realized I never responded to this.

"se ressourcer" can be translated as "recharge my batteries," or "get re-engergized."
clarentine
Oct. 26th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I like to know these sorts of things, and French is probably the only main European language I have no grounding in.
mnfaure
Oct. 26th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
Let me know if you need grounding with any other French expressions. :D I'll do my best to help. :P
(Deleted comment)
mnfaure
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
You are so wise, my friend.

Thank you so much for this; you've given me much to contemplate and have helped give me a much needed push in the right direction.
(Deleted comment)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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