Friday, October 31, 2014

Inspiration vs Persistence

For the past year I have been struggling with two novels and a shit-pile of short pieces, torturing myself over how to resolve the plot arcs. Was I avoiding doing the final 2% necessary to finish the first draft because I didn't have a clue of what to do or was there something deeper that prevented me from finding the resolution?

I have a bad habit of doing a lot of writing without finishing, always putting the piece aside for some new enthusiasm that is inevitably replaced by another new shiny idea.  It's probably my ADD, but it happens so I have to deal with it.

It's not as if I dislike writing. In fact, nothing gives me more pleasure than to immerse myself in the story and let the words pour out onto the page.  Spinning a confection into a story from nothing but  stray thought and tangling the strands into a complex structure that amused, confounds, and interests the eventual reader is akin to magic,  There is only the nothing of the blank page and then, through some alchemical action, neurons fire, thoughts form, and lo, there is a sentence freighted with meaning that begs explanation.  Sentence after sentence unfolds until entire pages of a tale lie before your eyes.  There is more to be said, you know, yet the energy to continue is not there.  Tomorrow you will return and carry the story further to some as yet undefined ending.

Except, all too often, you lose the thread that was leading you along. Holding the severed end you puzzle where it might have gone and, tracing back, cannot discern the logic you were following.  It is frustrating, enraging, and disappointing when this happens.  Sometimes, though, you man up and slog on, adding wooden words and leadened sentences to the work, hoping that something will spark you onward, striving to not lose the value of what you have already invested.  Sometimes this works, more often it doesn't.

Only, when you finish and begin editing, you cannot tell which parts were inspired and which were mere workmanship plodding.  It all speaks with a single voice.

I'll never understand this writing business.


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