It was supposed to be a beat sheet I was creating for my next WIP.
I’ve always considered myself a plotter. I’m very fond of pantsing my way through revisions, rewriting a scene five times in quick succession if need be rather than taking the time to outline the most feasible approach.
Usually, it’s writing that I cheat on other activities with.
Many years ago, in a fluke of proprioception I’m largely unable to reproduce with my moods and in other activities, I mastered the skill of daydreaming with a neutral expression on my face.
This revolutionized the way I move through the world, for it enabled me to almost always be working on my writing, even when I’m not literally writing.
My right knee was covered in road rash. My left thigh is still sporting a huge, multi-hued bruise.
(When a bruise actually shows up on a black person, you know it must be bad.)
Anyone who’s read my blog for while knows that I ride my bicycle a lot.
I’m a cycle-commuter – I ride 8km roundtrip to work every day, as well as on various errands and social outings in and around Vancouver, where I live. With the proper outer layers, Vancouver weather is rideable 95% of the year.
To be honest, it initially struck me as absurd, the thought of creating a soundtrack for a novel, let alone my own novel-in-progress.
After all, a book is, well, a book. It is static and non-visual beyond the fact of seeing a print or e-book’s typewritten words.
To me, it made little sense trying to apply techniques used in visual arts (most notably motion pictures) to a format that most definitely isn’t a picture (this despite the fact that very good books can indeed succeed in creating vivid pictures in the reader’s mind).
And just like that, I’m nearly two-thirds of the way through the rewrite of my WIP.
I should rephrase that: I’m two-thirds through the second draft of my WIP, with an as-yet-undetermined number more to go after that.
And it’s not exactly “just like that” either, for I’ve been hard at work on this draft since January. This has involved, in addition to multiple rewrites of chapters one through three, a first crack at the additional 15 chapters I’ve completed to date some of which were in much better shape than others.
No, this isn’t a post about negative self-talk.
That would be the subject of an entirely different, and if I chose to get all self-psychoanalytical about it, lengthy post.
Rather, it’s about what goes on in my mind whenever it’s not otherwise occupied, and, to me, is the furthest thing from negative.
When it comes to books and words and the creation and consumption of both, although I write nearly every day, I’ve always considered myself a reader first while only second am I a writer.
Of course, there is factual truth to this statement: I literally learned and continued to read stories before I started writing them (although the timing for both is close; I clearly recall writing my first “novel” in grade two).
Even now as an adult, my almost-daily reading occurs earlier in the day (dinner time) than does my almost-daily writing (after dinner, the last thing before I go to sleep).
My time off included a whole lot of this
The week before last, I was on vacation.
“Holiday” as my friends across the pond and Down Under would say.
Or as I like to call it, “staycation”, for it was a vacation where, rather than travelling someplace, I remained in my home town.
(For the record, I make a further distinction between a “vacation”, which to me involves travel, and a “holiday”, which is travel to someplace particularly noteworthy or exotic. But that’s just me.)
How the hell did “write what you know become” the most opt-repeated piece of writing advice anyway?
Maybe it’s because it’s the first advice many of us ever received. Certainly it seems like it should be beginner advice.
I can see it perfectly: a student of sixteen or seventeen hunched over his/her desk at school, pencil in hand poised above a sheet of three-hole-punched, lined loose leaf.
(Am I totally dating myself with this memory in longhand? Do high school students even write by hand in school anymore? The pencil in this vision isn’t even mechanical).