Monday, February 27, 2006

"He chose...poorly"

In writing--and in life in general--I struggle to do things poorly. This is very important to me, because I expect myself to be perfect in all ways all the time. That is, of cource, a totally preposterous and impossible standard, which means I have ample opportunities to kick myself for not measuring up. It also gives me an excuse to stop in mid-project and give up, or else to not even start. The reasoning goes: if I can't do it perfectly, then why bother trying at all?

This is definitley not a good mental state for a writer who aspires to be a novelist. Shitty first drafts and multiple revisions are de rigeur for novel writing. Writing a novel is a complex and demanding task. Expecting perfection the first time is just insane.

These thoughts have been rattling around in my brain for a long time, now. Yesterday afternoon, I finally broke through a roadblock on Washed in the Blood that has been hanging me up for weeks. There is information that John must have in order to survive as a vampire, but I have been unable to get that information into his hands in a way that conforms to good writing practice. My solution: I purposefully wrote an infodump, marked it as a Fix This and forged ahead. Not elegant, not perfect, not even good writing, but at least it was a temporary solution that gives me permission to move onward, while also giving me time to consider this problem some more. Possible it will resolve itself in another way as the story unfolds.

My choices, both conscious and unconscious, put barricades in my way. By the same tokens, I can choose to climb over, tunnel under, go around, or break through those barricades. Once I'm on the other side, I look back and see only tattered tissue paper drifting away in the breeze. Self-made barricades are never as formidable as they appear.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Jean said...

Hurray for filling the space and plowing forward. Sometimes, you just have to do it.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Carter said...

Hurray, indeed! After breaking the block, I sat down this morning and knocked out over 2100 words on it. I consider 1k a good day, so I'm pleased.


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