Doing the things

I don’t want to do the things but I am doing them because if I don’t do them then I’ll have to do the things that I want to do without a safety net without safety is without intelligence because intelligent people are smart smart people are successful so if I want to be successful I need to be smart which means I need safety which means I need to plan and plan and plan and plan and I can’t ever write this story because it’s not safe enough not now not ever don’t try to trick me I know what you’re doing it’s not going to work you can’t make me I won’t do it I DIDN’T SLEEP LAST NIGHT AND I HAVE BEEN OUT OF BED FOR THE LAST 14 HOURS AND I’M STILL BEHIND WITH STUDY AND I HAVE ASSIGNMENTS AND A SHOW COMING UP AND I WILL NEVER WRITE THIS NOVEL DO YOU HEAR ME WORLD NEVER HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I just felt so motivated last night when I said that I was ‘ready to not be ready’ – I felt in-sync with Tallulah as a character, and I felt more in-sync with myself than I had for a long time. Now that’s gone and I’ve rediscovered the doldrums of meticulous story-planning.

All of these lovely organic ideas are coming up in this summary form of laying out the story, and they’re not written, they’re not big, whole, proper versions of what I’m trying to say, which has to be in the form of a story for it to be what I want to say, because what I want to say is also how I say it, and I am not looking to publish a 5k-word summary.

I am too damn tired to write, and I am too tired to plan, so maybe I just need to sleep. But I’m not going to get a break tomorrow, either. I have other Things to Do. Study, mainly, and to watch movies (also for study), including Once Were Warriors, which I have not seen (saw the end though) and am not looking forward to seeing because it sounds thoroughly unpleasant.

Maybe I’m just programmed to splurge until the deluge of unregulated content issuing forth from my brain eventually steadies out into a consistent stream that appears self-regulated, until my brain just ‘clicks’ and trains itself to make clearer, crisper, more solid decisions on the fly. Perhaps all of this ‘planning’ stuff is just not for me.

However, what might be for me is something less concrete but still serving to direct my efforts. Like an essay question, for example.

Perhaps I can get this done by, instead of framing my plan as an assertion, frame it as a question. Get me thinking. Allow me to use my brain to generate ideas to apply to something, rather than applying beforehand and then just repeating the same thing all over again later on only in a longer and more time-consuming form.

Because the point of this plan is to provide that guiding, restricting framework, so that I make the right changes, and the issue I’m running up against is the same obstacle that I always come up against when I try to plan out what I’m going to write before I write it: I cut myself off in terms of the decisions I am ‘allowed’ to make when I get down to writing. Which is good. That is a good thing; that is the state of affairs that I want, in that I am looking to achieve a certain specific result.

HOWEVER. As I said the other night, I’ve never had that super-clear over-arching fully cohesive vision of what Tallulah would look like when it was ‘finished’, when it had been ‘done properly’. What I’ve had are inspiring ideas that spark up like fireworks – they don’t have a destination, necessarily; they’re just impulses complex enough to manifest in the form of ideas for my book. So that inspiration, that free-firing energy, is what I want to work with, to harness, but not to tame or ‘break’ it – to find a way to ‘use’ it without changing what ‘it’ is. Like trying to get a wild horse to let you ride it, I guess.

And the answer is to have some kind of guide.

Wolves were domesticated through the ‘guide’ of food; humans had the food and used it to ‘guide’ the behaviour of wolves to be friendlier, and eventually even dependent to a considerable degree upon human agency, and thus we have dogs; the ‘function’ of the wolf remains – a fast, strong, enduring hunter and tracker – but the wildness has been ‘guided’ into domesticity. In a similar way, roads ‘guide’ traffic; instead of people just driving all over the place they drive only on roads (well, ideally anyway, in the city and urban areas), and thus while the funcitonality of the car remains, its potential for wandering is channeled into a more limited and manageable and, importantly, predictable form.

My idea, then, is to ‘guide’ my spontaneous idea-generating habits – which I like and tend to work well for me – down a particular path. And the best way I can think of to do that is to pose myself questions that I can then use that habit for, by applying it to be able to find an answer. Instead of just dictating ‘this has to happen here’, presenting the conundrum of ‘incorporating X, Y and Z elements, how can I get from point A to point B?’

Obviously I’m thinking of leading questions as a tool because I’m already dealing with the prospect of university assignments and it saves me mental processing power, but even if I don’t use questions specifically the idea still seems like it would work for me.

And now that this just basically solves my problems altogether, it reveals the next problem, which has been around for a while.

I have some ideas of what changes should be made, on the grounds that they feel like they make the story feel more dynamic, but I don’t think I have all the changes that are needed. Then again, I guess I won’t really know what’s needed or not until I try out something.

You know what?

I’m just going to revise tomorrow. I’ll see how it feels, and I may end up trashing the changes. But I’ll do it. Because seriously, I am sick of not doing it. Chapters 1 and 2 are first up.

And that’s a decision. Now to live with it.

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