Nov 17 2009

NaNoWriMeet: Murphy loves me

Published by at 10:22 am under falling down,momentum,NaNoWriMeet,Writing

Yesterday was nicely summed up by the following:  “It’s a good thing that I’m not so weak-minded as to be driven in my behavior by omens and portents.  Otherwise the universe would definitely be telling me to quit writing.”  After my first really good day back on the project, I received a major piece of upsetting family news, and my laptop broke.

I continued in the back of my mind to keep writing as a goal throughout the day, and it was not entirely the tragedy it might have been.  Last night, right before powering down the laptop and bed, I made sure to copy my first 9 pages of the current chapter to my external hard drive.  Hurray for being a Smart Writer!  I already have my music and the rest of my writing on the drive, so except for some links and maybe a randomly missed file or two I’ve lost no important data even if I can’t recover this laptop.  Moral for this part of the story: save your work, often, multiple places.  Email your chapters to yourself if you have no other option; there’s not a single writer woe I can think of that is more likely to make you stop writing than losing days or months of hard-earned words in one stupid digital or electronic storm.

The second part was actually harder to deal with.  There’s an artist myth I’ve always been skeptical of, the tortured artist who must suffer for their art in order to create.  I’m leery of it in general, since I suspect it’s one of those sneaky ways humans devise to keep themselves miserable, but in specific I know for sure it’s inhibitory rather than inspiring.  On days that I have extreme emotional distress, I find it insanely difficult to write.  Perhaps not for everyone, but certainly for me, the energy for dealing with the consequences of strong emotional surges and the energy for writing come from either the same internal pool or closely interconnected ones.

It didn’t create a block on the words themselves; I still know what comes next for several pages.  I’m certainly in a very different emotional place than my characters right now, which makes it harder to empathize with the scene.  In today’s writing, depending on if the difficulty lingers, there are two obvious solutions to attempt.  One is to just skip that scene and go write one where the emotional state I’m currently in IS more conducive to empathizing with my characters.  The other is find some way that my emotional state can be related to something happening in the current scene, even in disguised form.  For example, one character is in a pretty good mood, the other is fairly agitated, maybe even a little aggro in response.  That second emotion isn’t quite where I’m at, but emotional agitation in general can give you more insight into a specific emotional state that’s similar even if not the same.  Hopefully I can turn the internal agitation into a powerfully charged scene.

As you might have guessed, by the end of yesterday I hadn’t written any words, not even a sentence.  I was so drained from processing that it was easier to just get some rest and start fresh tomorrow.  And that’s what I’ll try today!  Got some errands in the first part of the day for work, and a poker game this evening, but there’s time around those for writing and I can always sit out some card hands if I need to write instead.

What is something you’ve struggled with in the past week, relating to creating your art?

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “NaNoWriMeet: Murphy loves me”

  1. Pamela Deanon 17 Nov 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I’m sorry you had bad news.

    I didn’t get anything done yesterday because I had a migraine. It wasn’t a terrible one, and I could sit at the computer, but I couldn’t manage opening four files and moving stuff around into a new chapter, which was the plan; nor could I write new stuff. Very annoying, but overall less distressing, I think, than having bad family news.

    I’m really more likely to have trouble settling down if I get very good news, oddly enough. Does that happen to you?


  2. Reesaon 17 Nov 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Ooof! I don’t get headaches often enough that I have a lot of coping mechanisms for them, so they’re likely to cause me significant disruption when they do show up. I’m sorry you had a migraine.

    Hmmm, kinda sad it’s been long enough since I’ve received a major piece of good news I have to think about it some. I think that “in the moment”, good news is just as likely to be routine disrupting, but often if I do something fairly active with that energy I can settle down enough to work later in the day. It definitely seems like the throughout-the-day energy levels for me are more disrupted overall by negative news rather than by positive. Hadn’t thought about it that way before though, thanks for asking!