Thursday, February 02, 2012

Walk with me, my children...

Walk into the sea
I can give no reason
For you to follow me
I come without conscience
And I don't have a name
Those crazy little voices
They walk with me and say...
They say...

I'm having another one of those days where I simply can't think of anything to write. I get the feeling there are going to be a lot of these; I'm going from writing rarely, when the mood strikes, to writing as a daily phenomenon. Despite having a fantastic NaNoWriMo last year (finishing my 50,000 words - and most of the novel - in half the allotted time), I'm still rather out of shape when it comes to exercising the writing muscles, especially that most important one of all, the brain.

So it's unsurprising that I should find myself, once again, flailing for subject matter. Add in a fairly busy day, with the morning spent shifting berths one pier over and the afternoon spent draining down a fire main and replacing a valve, a filling dinner of spaghetti and a dessert of banana, peanut butter, and various sugar filled additions (mmm... dark chocolate syrup...) and I suppose it's totally expected that I should find myself coming up blank when it comes time to pound out a thousand words on any possible topic.

The most surprising thing of this self imposed task, actually, is that it hasn't been harder. I know several people who have set themselves a five hundred per diem goal; many of them end up /averaging/ that, as opposed to completing it. Many of them complain about finding the time, or the motivation, to write. Published authors have been known to recommend as few as three hundred words a day to start with, since the major point is to get the butt in the chair and make the words come out; it's more important to write anything and everything than agonize over the exact number (or, at least to start with, the quality). So the fact that I've managed to pound out a thousand words or more over the last thirty three days, just about each and every day, is fantastic. Astounding. Wonderful. And all sorts of other adjectives that I could use to puff up today's word count, but I'm not going to... right now, at least. I've noticed a couple of times where the goal just seemed to fly on by, especially when I'm working on blog posts (and believe me, I'd have my fingers crossed for that to be today's case, if typing with crossed fingers weren't actually physically painful). Many's the time when I've been in the middle of a point, or the story is moving along particularly pleasantly, and I've glanced down at that ongoing word count meter that is a grand part of why I prefer to write in Q10 (the typewriter sound is easily another third to half of the reason) and found that it's clicked over to four numbers, without warning. Amazing. Astounding. Oftentimes, so fast that it could make my head spin. My average NaNo word speed is about one thousand words an hour; since starting this project, I've pounded out a grand in as little as twenty minutes. Literally, triple my previous best speed. Admittedly, that speed has adjusted some; I remember doing two grand over the course of an hour and a half, and thousand word sprints on coffee breaks during NaNoWriMo 2011 (which, by the by, I still need a title for... and a satisfying ending, since right now it's just kind of hanging there with the heroine shooting somebody. Which is definitely an ending, but not a very good one for the story.)

As my friend Allison says, "Wait, you're telling me practice actually helps? What?"

But just having the ability to physically transfer the thoughts from head to keyboard (to computer screen to internet site to reader's ocular units, hopefully) isn't enough; I need to get the thought up there in the first place. Some days, this is easier than others; I'm working on three "current" stories right now, two for my cooperative writing project (Spire) and one as part of a personal series that had been nagging at me for a while, and I finally set out to get it down. Of course, no sooner did I get about four thousand words in than I felt the urge to get it out diminish... in large part, helped along by the subject matter. Writing erotica is awkward. The fact that nobody seems interested in reading it doesn't help with the inspiration much, either.

On the flip side, the story that people do seem interested in, a fanfic I was very fired up about and which represents pretty much my sole non-NaNo writing in 2011, doesn't particularly appeal to me right now.

Although, I could justify playing Rage as research for said 'fic's post-apocalyptic setting...

Yes, you read that right, I have stopped playing Skyrim - I finished the main quest, Companions, Wizard's College, and Thieves Guild storylines (although I have one more city and "special mission" to do for the Guild before I become Guild Master for real), and I have only storming Windhelm left in the Civil War storyline. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of miscellaneous other quests I could tackle, more shouts to acquire, and no doubt more dragons to slaughter - but I've reached a point where the magic has, at least for the moment, stilled. Given my tendency to want what I can't have, I anticipate going crazy with desire to play the moment we deploy overseas... an event descending upon me with all the inevitability of an overloaded freight train. On a downhill slope, in the snow.

Rage is fascinating; my wife says it reminds her of Borderlands, and I have to agree, although I also get a strong vibe of Fallout from it. Unsurprising, seeing how it's (partially) made by Bethesda; it doesn't quite have the humor of either game, at least not yet, but the driving aspects are interesting (what little I've experienced), and I adore wingsticks, the sharpened boomerangs that are the (current) best stealth weapon. I was given the "Anarchy" edition for Christmas, which gave me a double-barreled shotgun as a starting weapon; helpful, for the early missions, but soon overshadowed by other guns, like the combat shotgun. On the other hand, the Anarchy edition also included "Crimson Elite Armor," a "Rat Buggy", and something else I can't recall at the moment and can't be arsed to Google - and none of those have made an appearance, yet. On the gripping hand, I also haven't played very far into the game - one session, really, a few hours long. Unlike Skyrim, I can't just cover Squeak's eyes, or put her under a blanket, while I'm playing. She has to be in another room, thanks to the language, and I don't feel comfortable banishing her from a room in her house just because I'm playing a game. There's also the fact that banishing her from a room is an invitation to her making unexpected visits, asking for hugs and the like, and then trying to stick around. The child, she is a stubborn one. (Takes after her mother).

And hey, look... that's a thousand words, and I haven't even talked about everything I've been reading, lately. Maybe that can be tomorrow's entry.

(I fully expect all five of my readers, whom only started following this because I wrote a story about the Mighty Mighty MJ, to realize that most of my stuff isn't really YA related, and stop reading from here on out. )

1 comment:

MegaraMegumi said...

You're doing better than I am. I have hardly written anything since Nano.. its like Nano broke me lol. I did print my novel to work on... and plan to hit up a coffee shop one afternoon and just relax and write.

Also, there are erotica readers out there! (cough)

I'm gonna have to start trying to write daily again. I have the time.. the will to do so just hasn't been there though, and its sad.

Enjoy reading your blog. :)