It’s spring here in Australia, and I’m emerging from my writing hybernation. For the past year, I’ve been concentrating on writing purely for entertainment. My goal has been to get words out, without caring whether they’re good bad or indifferent. Story is king, but I’m not allowed to think too much about it. I can’t worry whether I’m writing something meaningful, or I get caught up with ‘what’s the message here?’. Conversely, I’m not allowed to think ‘this is rubbish’, or I stop me writing ‘forwards’. All of these judgements have to be left to the next draft.
It’s been hard work! It’s amazing how often self-doubt and concern about brilliance (or lack thereof) crowds into my creative space. But it’s been fun, and while I haven’t written as much as I would have liked, I’ve got a couple of finished shorter pieces and another on the way.
I’m also starting to notice something. The faster I write, the better it is. Starting something is usually clunky (although my current project is just singing along), but after I’ve warmed up a bit, the words start to flow. The characters speak for themselves, the events lead one to the other and I’m driven to finish the event or scene I’m working on until the whole thing is finished.
I don’t know why the writing gets better. It could be because I stop running interference – I can see an end in sight and start bolting for the finish line instead of holding myself up double guessing what I’m doing. Or maybe it’s because when I get to a certain point, the weight of the story drives it along despite any interference from me. Definitely passion has something to do with it – I get caught in the story and all I have to do is sit down and pick up the pen. Whatever it is, I now know it will happen and feel more grounded having experienced it a number of times. I’ve hit a bit of a flat patch in my current project, but I know if I keep going, I’ll get to the flow again and can worry about the less than brilliant parts in a redraft. That might mean EVERYTHING gets worked over, but hey, it’s a lot easier to edit than to produce!
And above all else, while facing the blank page is something I dread, nothing beats writing ‘The End’!