Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Wednesday's child

I'm not really a Wednesday child (me, Friday), but I'm feeling sort of woe-ish about my writing discipline over the past two weeks. I keep picking away at the bits I've already written for the book I'm working on - and I don't think that's a good thing. I think I need to let those sections lie fallow for a while and pick up at another place, but noooooooooo. Something always drives me back to change or tighten or expand.

I think all those years of writing for television made me a "time" freak, because - let's face it - I had to get a message across in :30 or :60, tight, memorable, no fat. So I find myself over-editing what I've written for the book or for a couple of stories I'm working on.

A fellow-TV writer friend, Richard Croker, tells me I've just got to get beyond the whole time-thing (but he doesn't tell me how to do it!). Richard's second book is soon to be published by William Morrow/HarperCollins, so obviously one can get over the TV-promo hump. I'll never forget the day he called and said, "Remember that Civil War book I've been writing for eight years? It's going to be published!" Remembering that does help - I mean, eight years. So whenever I feel a little fraught about how long it's taking me to get on track, I think: eight years.

I've tried leaving the book and moving on to one the 40 story ideas in my writing journals, but I'm having trouble with those, too. Lots of fits and starts. Everything's in my head but nothing's coming out - it's backed up and needs a good flush. Except my brain doesn't have a little flusher-handle. Too bad. I bet God added that to the next model of humans created for another planet, another galaxy. (Oh, and a stomach-flusher, too.)

Any brain-flushing ideas out there?


melinama said...

Well, I've been told the thing is to plop yourself in front of the blank page for a certain number of hours every working day, whether you feel "inspired" or not, and just write - something. Never have tried it, it's brand fresh in-the-box advice.

MaryB said...

I do lack discipline right now and that's what's frustrating me. I used to be so good at sitting at the keyboard and doing a sort of stream of consciousness thing until something began to form. It's great advice and it almost always works. Thanks for the reminder!