Do it all now

I need to get this freaking novel written.

I have no free time, and isn’t that the secret to getting things done: to do them while everything else is going on? Because that mythical “free time” you keep hanging out for, that magical experience of suddenly having absolutely no pressure to use you time to do something with that is not directly up to you as to whether or not it should get done, where you will have pleasant cushions of freedom supporting whatever task you choose to undertake on either side – that shit ain’t happening. Ever. So do it all now.

Do it all now.

And do it all now.

Yes it’s messy; yes it’s a product of my working from an older storytelling model, in which I deployed tropes and cliches unthinkingly and these things have bothered me ever since in one way or another; yes when I try to look at the story from my main character’s perspective to try and get a feel for what needs to happen all I can see is my own external overview – it’s a mess, it’s not what I want, it’s clunky and distracting and voracious beyond my ability or desire to fulfill.

And I have to get it done. And I have to get it done now.

Chuck Wendig is a writer whose books I’ve never read, but whose writing advice generally strikes a cord. Yesterday I found one such piece of advice that really stuck with me (to paraphrase): it’s not about writing, it’s about telling the story. The reason “writers” are “writers” is because the medium of written words is what is comfortable/affordable for them to work with. But it’s about the story. Once you start getting caught up in the writing part, it’s all too easy to forget what you’re writing. Writing is a tool, and the story is the job.

For me, with this novel, it’s certainly a matter of looking not at how I should be using my tools, but what I’m using them for. Because the story is so unruly as it is, and I don’t know if it means I need to cut a whole bunch of it out or just deal with the fact that there are certain storytelling devices in there that I think are antiquarian and kind of offensive and accept it for what it is. Because if I’m being honest, the structure is standing as it is. It’s not a handsome structure, and it could certainly use some tightening of bolts and a couple of repairs, but it is standing up. The question is whether I want it to stand up.

And the answer is: I don’t have time to deliberate.

I mean I do. Of course I do. But I may as well not, because the biggest motivation for finishing this story has become so that I can move on to the next one.

Kind of like these essays. But, as I’ve just said, you can’t wait for free time. You have to do it all now.

I dunno maybe I’m just a moron.

I am going to try it though.

Essay ahoy.


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