“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
This has been the most productive writing week I’ve had in months. Literally. Harnessing a writing streak however, can be an impossible task, so when it strikes, run with it. Here are some repercussions of what I call ‘writers hold.’
1. You have consumed more coffee or hot tea than your body weight.
2. Pajamas become proper work attire.
3. Your laptop has attached itself to your hand.
4. You wake up at three in the morning because your unconscious mind just unlocked the key to Chapter Ten!
5. You realize the dishes haven’t been done in days and you haven’t left the house in over 24 hours.
6. You start talking to yourself. Out loud.
7. You are in pain from the neck down.
8. You have amassed over one hundred unchecked emails and you don’t care.
9. Your blog posts become increasingly random and more sporadic.
10. You have no idea that your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, child, roommate is talking to you.
11. You don’t know todays date.
12. And you are thankful as hell for all of these things because they spell…PRODUCTIVITY.
Here on the blog I am dedicating monday as Music Day. I will post my current playlist or songs that I feel are particularly good this week (or just the songs I’m writing/listening to). Although I love new music and try to stay current, I also love the old stuff and will be posting that as well. Thanks for listening.
PHANTOGRAM: Don’t Move
WASHED OUT: Before
FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: Only If For A Night
FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: Shake It Out
“The long-lived books of tomorrow are concealed somewhere amongst the so-far unpublished mss of today.”
– Philip Unwin
Today I’m going to go down a slightly different post path. As the weariness of blogs by writers becomes more and more apparent, I feel the need to talk about what I’m doing as a possible means of clearing the clutter from my brain.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my WIP. That’s a good thing because a few weeks ago all I wanted to do was leave it stuffed in a drawer. I still haven’t brought myself to edit anymore or even continue working on the sequel…but I’m feeling better about moving in that direction.
This morning I drug out my old playlist for memory triggers. One of the problems with leaving a WIP for a while is coming back to it later. Finding the same inspiration you left weeks or months before isn’t a guarantee. Listening to playlists is a sure-fire way back in for me. Granted, that doesn’t mean I’ve started writing yet. Only that I’m walking the path again.
The truth is, novels take so much emotional strength to create–and sometimes I simply run out of it. Staying in a particular mind-set for weeks on end–well, let’s just say consumption isn’t always a good thing.
So after riding that dreaded bike of mine for 10 miles this morning, my brain flooded. Without a prod or push, it flowed freely. That hasn’t happened in a long while. So here it flows, onto this page. And again, I’m being guided by that voice in my head. The one that for over a year refused to shut up. It woke up. Or maybe I did. Either way, I’m closer.
Angus & Julia Stone: Down The Way–The Devil’s Tears
Broken Bells: Broken Bells–The High Road, The Ghost Inside
Silversun Pickups: Swoon–The Royal We, Draining, Catch and Release
A Silent Film: The City That Sleeps–You Will Leave a Mark
Blue Foundation: Life of a Ghost–Stained, Enemy, Talk to Me, Watch You Sleeping, Hero Across the Sky.
Placebo: Running Up That Hill
The Fray: How to Save a Life–Look After You
Washed Out: Life of Leisure–Feel It All Around, New Theory
Temper Trap: Conditions–Sweet Disposition
Just to name a few triggers that helped to unlock the vice this morning.
Having been a classical dancer for most of my life, injuries are second nature to me. I’m pretty good with grinning and bearing it. The best example would be spraining my ankle on stage during a performance in front of a few hundred people. I kept dancing that piece and the two pieces that followed. It’s part of the trade. Similar I would say to cutting or burning myself during a dinner rush, while working the line, on a wait. You just keep going.
Being a dancer and a chef taught me a few very valuable lessons. The most important one–Don’t Quit. I am utilizing these lessons in my writing — or trying to.
Let’s face it, writing is hard–very hard at times. And not only because the craft must be mastered, but also because of the emotion needed to create characters, worlds, dialogue and conflict. It’s a struggle.
Not at all unsimilar to struggling with say….an old knee injury. My recurrent knee injury is from many years past (the ankle is good now). I was 15 when my orthopedic doctor suggested, no , he flat-out told me, to quit dancing because of my knee. Ha! Not likely. I do remember making a sort of hyena snorting sound. I didn’t quit. It wasn’t in me to quit. After physical therapy and a few weeks on crutches (because PT was so painful I couldn’t walk out of the office on my own) I was back to my vices.
Later, running became my new source of self-inflicted pain. Due to this marvelous decision on my part, I am back in PT with the same old injury. Riding the stationary bike for miles and miles in burning pain. Yes, I’ve been here before. Me and the bike are old
Eleven miles today at 18 mph and the knee is feeling better. Honestly. Strange how something you hate can actually make you feel better at times. Like the taste of Nyquil. Gotta choke it down but in the morning, you can at least say you slept. Granted, it could be because Nyquil is like 80% alcohol–but that’s another post.
Point here–I have one–is that moving forward or not giving up is a necessary part of life. I hate that damn bike, but I’m gonna keep riding it because it helps me. I hate editing. I reallyyy do, and I hate the place I am in right now with my writing. The stuck place. Can’t move forward–can’t move backward. But I know if I keep peddling, keep pointing my toes, keep my hands away from the flames and KEEP moving straight with my writing–I will be okay.
So DON’T QUIT! My advice to myself, my advice to you. None of what we are doing here is easy. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. It just means—well, it means some of us take the long way around instead of plowing through the middle.
There is a reason I’m a writer and there is a reason I am NOT technical. So when my love meets my utter head banging confusion, I get a little….mad.
I have been messing around with this photo manipulation program for longer than I care to admit here on the blog. If you haven’t checked out one of these programs before–peruse one for a few and see what I mean. There are more tools than sense–95% of which I have no clue how to use.
When you don’t know how to use one of these programs, you have two options (well three really).
1. You Tube. Yes, I have watched the tutorials and thought aha! that’s easy, what am I complaining about!? Mmm Hmm. It’s easy to minimize the tutorial, push pause and replay a few hundred times while you go back and forth between pages. What isn’t easy is applying these techniques. I will follow tooth to nail and while the ‘expert’ shows off his newly pasted and cut lovely cover–I look up to see mine utterly destroyed. Hence, I have about 10 ‘working’ covers right now.
2. Find the User Manual. Yeah… If you can decipher one of these, I have some furniture that needs assembling.
3. And lastly, my option of choice, wing it. Just try every tool, every layer, every filter and background ……. and pray.
I’m currently using Gimp not Photoshop…not like it makes much difference in the grand scheme. Once you are beyond help, it no longer matters which program you use. I believe at the this point, my first cover may look like a toddler assembled it. Or worse….it could like this:
I came outside to write today. It’s quiet during the day–only the slight rustle of oak trees. I still feel Fall in the air–the heat doesn’t hide its approach. The different angle of the sun’s rays always gives it away. The wind has picked up slightly and leaves are beginning to rain down.
I love the coming of every season. I think it’s the change–a sense of rebirth.
I’m looking for a different angle as well and hope at times like these, that a change of scenery, and of season, will provide it. Sometimes we only need to listen to find our place again. My writing has been such a struggle of emotions over the last couple of years. So as I let myself sit here and absorb the sounds of nature, this is what I see: