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LJWorld.com weblogs The Line of Letters

Pep

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The comic book writer/novelist/internet curmudgeon Warren Ellis says that half of all writing is staring off into the distance and thinking what comes next. When I’ve been staring off into the distance lately I get the ideas for more stories that are better than the one I’m writing. I’ve learned from past experience that when I stop one thing in favor of starting something else, I will never go back to the first thing. There are dozens of half-finished stories, hundreds of pages with six or seven scribbled lines on them.

I’ve made little progress since last I posted on my NaNoWriMo book. I’m only at 35,000 words or so and I had hopes of being a lot farther ahead than I am. I’m frustrated with where the story is going because it’s not working out the way I wanted it to. I need to stir the old brain juices a little and get to writing, so this is just to jostle my thoughts a bit.

I got distracted by watching AMC’s The Prisoner remake the last three nights and didn’t get a lot of evening writing done. Too bad because the nicest thing I can say about the series was that it had so much potential that went unrealized. I guess I could have spent the time better, but I’m in the middle section lull of the NaNo process that kills a lot of novels: my story is crap and I’m not a good enough writer to make it better.

Then I realize something. That’s the point! If I can power through as I detailed in another post, then I’m going to be a better writer. If I give up, I’ve got another half-done story and I’m like millions of others. Sometimes separating myself from the work I’m doing allows me to reset the thoughts I need in order to go back to work. So this is the pep talk I’m giving myself here in public view.

It doesn’t matter that I’d rather be writing any of the dozen or so other stories that I have in mind, I need to finish this one. I obligated yourself to complete it and that’s all I have to do, finish. Don’t worry about the quality; that comes with editing. Right now it’s just about getting to the end, putting events one after the other in a line of some kind and making it to the last page.

I wish I had worked out more of what happens in the middle of my story, but I didn’t. I have some notes that I don’t think are good, but if I just follow them, I’ll get to the end. There’s nothing that says I can’t change it later.

Right. That’s what I needed. Now I get it. Now I know what I need to do to get going again.

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