Three weeks since the last blog!
A new record… In the wrong direction!
But, as you know, “failing” isn’t so bad. Which is a good thing for me.
…churning out at minimum 5 blog posts a week (and I do). What’s worse, is if you want to be “taken seriously” as a blogger, that’s the minimum.
But what does this do really? It encourages people to crank out more half baked thoughts than fully developed ideas. Which creates a lot of noise and clutter, which makes it harder to find the stuff worth reading.
Five times a week?
How the hell does he do it? I don’t do anything that regularly in my life.
(Yes, I know I should eat more fiber.)
I’d be happy to just post something twice a week but I can’t even do that!
Hell, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, which is one of the most awesome sites on the Internet, is posted every Tuesday and Friday and it’s a comic!
And she has to draw and write it!
What do I have to do other than grab some “Star Trek” pics and then come up with some lame quotes to go under them?
And I can’t even do that on a regular basis!!!
(Actually it seems that Faith Erin Hicks, the creator of Superhero Girl, draws the comics in advance, a few months ahead of time. So she’s not only amazingly talented but also incredibly smart. Unlike yours truly.)
Look, I’m not saying my blogs are masterpieces but I want them to be decent and if not enlightening then at least somewhat entertaining.
So I’m going to take my time with them.
Serve No Blog Before Its Time.
Remember how I posted about how horrible typewriters were? Well, while I’d still rather French kiss the Tellarite Ambassador Gav before going back to working on a typewriter, I have to admit there may have been one good thing about typewriters:
They made writing just difficult enough that you really had to want it.
Back then if you wanted to look professional and be taken seriously your stuff had to be typed. And typing was a skill most people didn’t have!
You either had to pay someone to type it for you, which wasn’t cheap, or more likely (especially if you were a twelve-year-old kid) you had to type it yourself. Which meant a lot of time and even more correction fluid.
And if you did manage to type your story then you’d have to make copies unless you wanted your only copy getting lost or eaten by your brother’s crazed dog. That meant the “Xerox machine” at your library, if your library even had one, or even worse you’d have to use carbon paper while typing! (Fun fact for all you youngsters that’s where “Cc” comes from!)
You had to REALLY want to write something back then. You had to be passionate about it.
You had to get that story out and nothing was going to stop you!
Not that horrible manual typewriter.
Not that lousy copier at the library.
Not your brother’s paper eating retriever or even your brother telling you that the story you were writing was a complete rip-off of episode #204! Rip off? Ha! What did he know? He wasn’t even a fan of “Star Trek”. He didn’t even read Science Fiction! Besides, my story was so completely different! It was SO cool. My main character had–Yeah… So, I was saying…
Typewriters were good because they were so bad that it made you have to really want to write and work at it.
And, yes, I know I blogged before about writing being fun and turning off your inner critic BUT at some point you have to turn that critic back on to make sure your not just spewing the sort of half-assed garbage you see on some blogs and websites out there.
And I’m not just talking about the amateur stuff either. There are a ton of “professional” blogs and e-books and websites out there that are just plain horrible. They don’t even put up lame pics with captions!
But I’m not going to post any links to bad blogs and/or e-books…
Although maybe I should. It seems a negative review can help you go from 50 daily visits to 194,000! (Scroll down and read the comments to see how not to handle a bad review.)
No, I’m not going to sit here and bash other sites. That’s not why I started this blog.
So what is this blog for?
Oh, yeah! For us to find our inner Kirk to help us with our goals in life!
Well… That ain’t been happening either folks!
PROCESS NOT PRODUCT
Remember how I said I was going to stop working on my science fantasy epic by hand and concentrate on converting my script into an e-book?
No? Don’t remember that one either? Huh.
Well don’t worry about it because I FAILED… Again!
- “I’ve taken how long to blog?”
I’ve been stuck on a scene for over a week and it’s been driving me nuts. I just couldn’t get it right. Nothing was working. Finally my wife said to me, “Why don’t you just work on your other story for a while?”
Yes! What a good idea. I knew I didn’t just marry her just because she looks great in a yeoman’s costume. (And she does.)
So, I broke out the three ring binder and the words flowed from my pen with no effort. Thinking my problem fixed, I fired up the laptop and went back to work on that troubling scene and did it flow as well?
It still just lay there like a dead Redshirt.
I just could not get into the flow of it.
And flow, or “engagement” (the feeling of being lost in a task) isn’t just important for writing if you want to “flourish“.
Lynda Barry says that the “groove” will eventually leave you and the only way to get it back is to “fake dance”. Meaning, you have to go through the motions and keep at it until you get back into it. But I just couldn’t get into it. No matter how hard I tried it just wasn’t happening. I just wanted it to be over with and be done with it. I wanted the script rewritten into novel form so I could move on.
And that was my problem. I was focusing on the goal of being done and not the goal of writing the best scene possible. In my mind, the story was done, I’d rewritten the script at least five times. The story was finished. I should be able to just bang out an e-book version.
In our society we tend to focus on the goal exclusivley. We don’t care about the process, just the end results. And that’s totally backwards.
We talk about page counts, churning out product and how fast we can get it done instead of talking about paying attention to craft and focusing on doing our best at that very moment.
I’m going to stop focusing on deadlines and page counts and start focusing on the moment in my story I’m working on.
One word at a time.
“Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything.” — Thomas M. Sterner
No, I’m not saying you should take as long as you please and not worry about getting things done on time. Lord knows I want to be more productive! But usually when we rush we tend to waste more time because our thoughts are scattershot and we fail to get into that “flow” that allows us to focus. I don’t know about you but whenever I’m in that “groove” I tend to write much faster and better.
( Thomas M. Sterner talks about going slow to go faster in his book The Practicing Mind and gives some other great examples how to put “mindfulness” into daily practice. )
So, instead of rushing and beating myself up over not being finished yet, I’m going to reread the scene I’m working on, outline the beats in that scene (even though I already did this when I wrote it before as a script) and then write down each of those beats by hand. And only after all of that will I go ahead and type it up.
But not with a FRIGGIN’ typewriter!
I know my book won’t be perfect but at least I’ll know I gave it all of my focus and effort.
Just like this blog that took three weeks to post.
Because making a cannon that shoots diamonds out of bamboo takes time.