Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Gear

Yeah, it's been forever, I know. I let life get in the way. So sue me.

Anyway, I managed to let life get in the way of my writing, which is the biggest no-no out there if you're a writer. Why? Because writers write. They don't talk about their book to others. They don't sit and daydream about the story for a month or two. They sit their ass down in the chair and write.

And if it sucks? Successful writers edit.

They don't look at the first piece of random frog shit they come up with and say, "MASTERPIECE!!!" They go back to the frog shit and clean it up until it's less like shit and more like a real story. Then they repeat until there isn't a whiff of shit to be found.

But it's that time between initial idea and blank screen that causes me trouble. Because frankly, I DO daydream the story, and take too damn long to organize it, and so forth. Why? Because I dove in the first time, and I could never clean it up past the "still whiffs of shit over here" phase.

It's okay, I can admit it, because the fact is it wasn't a good story. I have no idea if this one will be better, but I have taken WWAAAAAAYYYYYYY too long in preparation just to try and make sure it is. Now I'm ready to let that clutch out and start off.

And I'm freaked out. So the only thing I can do is put the (horrible) working title on the top of page one, and away we go.

How about you? What's it take to get you to the starting line? Let the clutch out slow, or pop it and hope the sucker starts?


elfarmy17 said...

I'll have a vague idea and let it sit for awhile, and then one day I will sit down and say to myself "I will begin this today." And then I do, and I write about 2000 words, and then I head into the daydreaming phase between stints at the computer.
I don't know what that translates to in terms of car metaphors. :)

Alan said...

More often then not I drop the clutch, spin the tires, throw rocks into the air, and take off with a devil may care grin spread across my face... until I realize I have forgetten to switch gears, a cloud of smoke has started to form behind me, rendering my rear-view mirror useless, my clutch is quickly burning away, the car stalls, and before I know it I have lost all momentum... My notebooks resemble a junkyard of scraped cars

jnantz said...

elfarmy - You certainly don't have to be stuck using my metaphors! I guess whatever works for you is what you go with, I just beat myself up because I have pissed away so much time I could have been writing, you know?

Alan - based on that analogy, I'd say my first finished manuscript started as a burned out husk of a car because I kept going even after the engine had exploded and killed me. So yeah, I know EXACTLY what you mean about your notebooks and that junkyard!

ShadowTenshi said...

Start up nice and easy speed around a bit for the rush of adrenaline and then stop for a break at caribou coffee... yep...

Actually that's bull, writing isn't suppose to be pleasant in the first stages! it's like your poster in your classroom with those steps to writing. rewrite rewrite rewrite... so yes you need your frog shit stage, but shit decomposes and is used for nutrients that can nourish big things! BIG IDEAS!! and amazing stories :)

I am obviously terrible at car analogies btw.

jnantz said...

Shadow - actually, I guess you could say that's a very green auto analogy, since you've got the recycling of the shit involved...

And you're right, the first stages of writing aren't meant to be fun. We don't do this because it's fun and sunshine and roses. We do it because we can't not do it. Very good point.