Troy Kirby

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just "clicking"

I got that "clicking" sound in my head this weekend.

I went off like a rocket. Became a typing machine, smoke jetting out of my new IMac and wireless bluetooth keyboard.

It was fascinating to watch. My typing was so noisy it scared the paint off of the walls (okay, that's a little bit of a stretch, but not by much).

By the time I was finished through the lost weekend of writing, it was Sunday night.

I averaged 8,000 words over each day in this period of "rage writing."

Were they all perfect words? Refined to the point of “Hemingway-worthy?” Nope, but even Hemingway didn’t have each word, sentence and paragraph designed as well as he liked on the first or second draft.

The point is, to soldier on. Even Hemingway had his clich├ęs, his plus and minuses. Because writing will come, writers will see, the writing will live on, then the writing will end. (My impression of Ernesto's writing).

Conventional wisdom has its own beast that you must defeat on your own terms. It is written by non-writers, cliches to explain the unexplainable. Namely, the "correct way" to do anything.

Conventional wisdom suggests that good writing is developed by consistency, writing the same pace at each time. Write 2,000 words a day, always. Never do more, or less. Maybe that’s true for 99 percent of writers. For me, it’s hogwash.

"The way that I write" is a form that has been written way too many times. It's that form of "what works for me" but attempts to adhere others to the format. Since it works for them, it must work for everyone, right?

My writing happens in large spurts sometimes (doing 8,000 is awesome but I usually average 6,600 before I poop out and call it a night). This happens while I have tons of ideas flooding into my brain, everything turns into a story idea, fits perfectly with all of the things that I am writing about.

Other periods yield about 500-1,000 words in which I go through the motions and never have an original idea. It is lame, but you have to be able to deal with it.

Once in a while, I don’t write for a few days. I let my brain settle, get some of the issues/bugs worked out in my head.

You’ve got to set your own rhythm. Too often in this society, we are at the mercy of the past. The accomplishments someone else puts up is something that each of us compares our lives to. This is wrong. We are different pieces of the same puzzle, each set on a different course although we may look fairly similar.

For every engineer growing up, Steve Jobs’ life may be their pinnacle. But the heartache of losing his own company, then re-emerging with it, is grand. Another factor is the fact that even though he was highly intelligent, he was not at the mercy of code or chip design. Instead, he was a fantastic salesman who understood vision. Every engineer is not the same. Some are techno-geeks who can't see anything but a computer chip. Everything is different in its own way. The same can be said of writers.

This is where the learning lesson of who you are as a writer begins. No matter what someone else does, or how they go about it, you will be different. Perhaps your differences will be slight or they may be massive. Just be the best you that you can be.

I used to judge myself by the great writers of the time. Attempt to perfect every sentence before I got to the next one. This was how I was taught in school. It is why my first drafts of any novel are less than 45,000 words. And I used to believe I was a failure because it wasn’t a draft down situation (i.e. the first draft is huge, the second draft is minus twenty percent of the first).

Then, I realized one day that I drafted up. Completely different than the conventional wisdom of any writer out there. Everyone suggests that drafting up is no way to write. I disagree and, since I am the one writing this, I make the rules.

After a 45,000 word first draft, I write a second draft which is double that first draft word count (this is because I expand on topics, character histories and situations). Now, with 90,000 words, I then write segments of passages in rewriting. It’s how I do what I do. It helps me define the story, deconstruct and reconstruct specific parts, then enable it to grow.

Maybe this isn’t how others do something. But so what. That’s what the "clicking" sound in my head is for. It helps me hard charge through something. We all go at a different pace. You should too.

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