Monday, July 18, 2011

WIP Diary: The 2:00 PM Moments

So the other week I was all about the glories of the subconscious in writing, manifested in the "2:00 AM moments" when your subconscious miraculously takes over your writing snarls for you and works them out.

Yeah, that's wonderful stuff, those moments. Mystical and magical. But unfortunately, you can't write a whole book that way. Most of the work has to be done consciously, word by word, like a bricklayer building a house. You can't get around the brutal hard work sometimes. And those are the 2:00 PM moments.

It's that time in the afternoon where the caffeine buzz has worn off, you're a little sleepy from eating lunch and starting to wonder about dinner or what the kids are up to and your brain just isn't interested in the made up people on the screen in front of you. What do you do? The easy thing is to get up from the computer and go do something else. But you'll never finish the book that way. Trust me. Why do you think I'm still working on this damned book after all this time?

Let me let you in on a little secret: when you walk away from your computer, little elves do not show up and finish the book for you. It's shocking but true. You actually have to write the book yourself.

But it's hard at 2:00 PM when inspiration just isn't there. You sit and stare at the same line with the cursor blinking, unmoving, at the end of it until the words dissolve into a jumble of letters that don't mean anything anymore, you've read them over too often.

It can be so easy to quit when that happens. How can you write when your brain won't function? Well, you just have to make it function. First thing you have to do is let go of the idea of inspiration. Remember Thomas Edison and how this is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

We have this odd notion that writing is this ethereal activity when most of the time, it is bloody hard mental work. Don't buy into the idea that every word must flow through you like some gift from above or otherwise it's no good. Sometimes, you have to plunk words down on the page.

This is where I am right now. Plunking words down. It's not fast and it's not fun but it's progress and I'll take it for now.

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