It feels appropriate that the first post on my new blog should be something about my writing process.
When I was writing my first book, “Tomahawk Incident,” I was learning the craft.
-Insert Deadpool voice here - “Spoiler alert!” I still am, probably always will be.
Given the myriad ways writing continues to adapt, constant learning isn’t just something nice to think about, it’s survival. At some point in the future, I’m sure I’ll post a gibbering diatribe fueled by red wine, self-loathing and the urge to strangle someone about trying to keep up with what the hell’s happening in writing.
But I digress… I rewrote the first eighty pages of Tomahawk Incident five, maybe six times. Yup, That’s about five hundred pages that went right into the round file. To call that frustrating would be… well, refer to the above, red wine, self-loathing and the urge to strangle someone. But that’s what was required. I’ve learned a lot since then, but writing is all about perseverance. Draft after draft, rewrite after rewrite, hearing the same feedback from people that for some reason you don’t seem to be able to internalize. It feels like you're stuck in the creative spin cycle - round and round, not going anywhere.
But for me, when I stick it out, I’ve always ended up with something I could be proud of. I think all writers have experienced looking at earlier drafts of something or even earlier pages of what they are currently working on and asking, “Who wrote this crap?” But in asking that question, I can see that I’ve grown.
Like everybody else, I’ve got boatloads of ideas that spool from the nothingness between my ears and demand my attention. This invariably happens right when I’m trying to accomplish serious writing on something else. There’s no way to know if the seeds are going to be good or bad, so I write down enough to remember the concept, and then file them away to look at later. Needless to say, I’ve got a bunch of largely empty folders on dropbox just staring at me like neglected puppies. “When’s it going to be my turn?!” they demand.
I’ve gotten good at staying on task - more or less. I’m usually writing two or three different worlds at the same time. When I get fed up, burned out, blocked or generally want to throw me, my computer, and pretty much anything within reach out the window, I jump to one of the other worlds. The time away from each world allows ideas to percolate in the background while I’m focusing on whatever the current piece is. This may not work for everyone, it’s just my way of keeping from burning down busloads of nuns or other less than socially acceptable forms of catharsis.
So, there we have it. Please forgive the rambling start to my blog, but I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll post more incoherent syllables soon. Cheers!