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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Comments On Writing A Novel

I uploaded a video about writing a novel this morning

Comments thus far have been interesting.

One person cited Stephen King as saying to start out with short stories. Another person quoted a clip from Family Guy where Stewie mock Brian about him writing an novel. Other people expressed sentiments of good luck and ‘yeah I have been meaning to do that forever too’.
Procrastination is another thing frequently mentioned.

On that note, I should mention that I have written 1,000 words so far today, and I haven’t even been away all that long. If I can get into the sort of stride I was in the first week I started working, I could reach minimum novel work length in a couple of weeks. As I currently don’t have much of a life, such a goal seems not beyond possibility, but I have to fight the urge to procrastinate like everyone else.
However, I thought I would share some of my own experience in this instance with motivation and procrastination.

1) Because this is semi-autobiographical, it is not as mentally taxing as writing total fiction. This is why I am mostly disregarding King’s idea bout starting out with short stories (although I have written some very short stories in my day). Working from memory and writing like its recent events in not as hard (at least for me) as it sounds. Having majored in Philosophy, almost all of my work in college was writing base, and more than that, it was focused on being coherent, ordered and logical. Even if this is a departure from what I have been ‘trained to write’, I still have a good grasp of what I need to say, and when I need to say it, and I can worry more about how I say it later.

2) Also because it is semiautobiographical in nature, I don’t have to agonize that much about the sort of story worries Stewie mocks Brian over, such as if he has an interesting protagonist, whether they learn from the experience, etc. call my arrogant enough to think I am interesting enough to impose my point of view on a reader and keep them interested, but that’s exactly what I do practically every time I make a Youtube video. Also, if the experience wasn’t interesting, I wouldn’t be inclined to write about it. I am not the sort of person who would pick to boring period of my life and try to make it interesting. Hell, have I really had boring periods of my life?

3) As for my over all motivation, I feel that writing is about the only task I am suited for as a living for reasons involving my personality and attitude, and because I always seem to have ideas and something to say. Pushing myself to write this is about more than merely ‘finally writing my masterpiece’. It is about learning how to be self-disciplined enough to accomplish things without someone standing over my shoulder. Rolling up my sleeves and doing some hard work for the sake of accomplishing things and getting better is a necessary life skill in my opinion. I am the sort of person that often finds myself being judgmental towards people that take the path of least resistance and would rather party their life away than work for anything, but at some point I have to face the reality that for the most part, I haven’t been all that much better. I too find myself engaging in equally passive activities that don’t lead anywhere in particular, but I typically self-justify it by thinking of it as intellectual and not mind numbing like drinking. But, if I don’t actually put knowledge to use, I might as well be getting drunk instead from the point of view of the rest of the world, because I usually only have being a smart-ass to show for it.

4) I figure that if I force myself to write every day, even if it is just a blog post, I am bound to improve as a writer. That is in part why I am throwing myself into this with a sort of reckless abandon that makes me mostly brush aside some of the dire warnings of the perils of writing a novel people try to present me with. 70,000 words that badly need to be edited and revised is infinitely better than the perfect novel in your head and nothing on paper. Perhaps it is too soon for me to start giving writing advise, but people that wait till the moment is ‘just right’ or till they have the perfect way to say something, or until they have it all figured out in their heads tend not to accomplish much. There is something to be said for just getting shit done, and worrying about the finer points later.

5) I have a fairly solid outline that I am working from, again because I am drawing from reality. What is more, during the year the book takes place, I have over 5,000 photos I took, alone with over 10,000 words of blog entries and video footage. All of this helps immensely, because I never have the excuse of not having something to write about until I have checked off everything on my outline, and I have reference material to aid my memory.

So that's I my basic perspective on my work and the pitfalls of writing. I am sure in the future when I attempt to make something wholly fictional, I might struggle a bit more, but that’s why I believe what I am working on now is a good choice for a first work.
Stay Tuned…

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