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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speed Bumps

Up for 6am - my first solid attempt to get up and running and back into my ol' groove. My body is less than pleased.

I've come to understand why people drink coffee in the mornings.

Apparently, I fell asleep at my keyboard.

Woke up at 7:30, looks like I konked out mid-sentence.

Great.

It's funny, I'm looking at this script - it's one I started back before I'd gotten around to figuring out how to do an outline - and I realize now just how chaotic it seems. I've got some really cool lines and ideas and threads here but it's all mish-mashed together. Luckily I'm only 3/4 through the first draft - but man, yeah... I'm reminded of the old way I used to write and just how unfocused it was.

I'm going to take this thing back to square one, right back to outline - well, actually, MAKE an outline. It's a bit frustrating, but at the same time, it's good - forcing me to look at the story from another angle.

Though that brings up a whole new set of problems.

One of the risks of being self-taught is that, well, I picked up a few bad habits along the way. And while I've been able to rid myself of most (finally getting a dang handle on the outline process, seeing its merit) there're still a few hangers-on. These mostly have to do with mindset and craft.

Being able to separate Character and Plot and then re-weave them deftly and with purpose.

Since last year I've been on a quest to take what talent I have and build under it a solid foundation of structure and craft.

Slowly, I feel like I'm making progress but the one constant side-effect of it all has been a bit of a blow to the confidence-levels of my writing; Things that seemed to come to me naturally before seem somewhat alien to me now.

I know it comes from that change in perspective, an overhaul of the way I tell a story, but it's a weird feeling of disconnect from my writing, a feeling like I'm unable to see the whole story I want to tell, even when trying to work it out in the outline.

I talked to Karen about it and I'm not really sure I communicated it properly - it's hard to ask for advice when you're not sure what question you need to ask. I feel like I've been driving her up the wall as of late - she keeps telling me I have to be more 'specific' about things, about what I want/need, etc. But it's all seemed rather amorphous to me, 'what I need' being akin to trying to grab and hold a fistful of water.

Still, she's been a blessing and a half. Trying to help however she can, being that calm voice when I'm not entirely sure what kind of help I need (tho' I've considered a straight-jacket some days...).

Trying to look at it with some distance, I don't think it's about me seeking validation - though that was my first thought (that maybe I'm just needing someone to say 'you don't suck').

I think what's really bugging me is that so much time has passed and that feeling hasn't gone away.

That disconnect and, because of it, that uncertainty is still there.

I figured after maybe a couple months it'd be better, I'd adapt. But so far, I haven't and it's wigging me out a bit. Making me unsure. Making me focus on the 'why' as opposed to the 'what next' on an exceedingly (and frustratingly) personal level.

I'm still banging away at it, still writing but it's just one of those things at the back of my mind. A scaled beast slithering while I look for that fabled soft spot in which to sink my blade. There is an answer, there is a way, I know it. But damn, it can be seductive, whispering 'you can't' whenever I come up to a wall. Hissing in my ear as I fight to scramble up and over.

Just keep writing. I know that's all I can do.

But damn I wish I could figure out how to get this beast off my back.

Cheers,
Brandon

2 comments:

M J Reid said...

You don't suck.

Hope that helps. It's true.

Rich Baldwin said...

Ooh, I think I know what's up:

You've plateaued. It happens to *everyone*. You get better, and better, and then one day it's like the wheels are spinning but the car's going nowhere. Do *not* let this get you down: it's a regular process. Some part of you has to figure out a new route, and that means you have to continue doing what you've been doing. It means spinning your wheels for awhile before you start climbing again.

It's *really* tough - I know, I've done it in writing and done it in fencing. But you can get through it if you just stick at your job, which is putting one page in front of another.

And don't sweat the self-taught-edness. Everyone is self-taught in the end . . ..