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Category Archives: Creative Process
Hey! How are ya? Probably not real interested in reading about priorities when the novel update’s late. Again. Right? *headdesk*
Of Priorities & Novel Updates
I’m about 40 words away from being ready (I swear!), but I want to check with my time period resource (AKA Grandma) to fact-check it before I post it. It should be ready tomorrow.
Of course, it should have been ready Sunday or Monday. That’s where priorities come in.
Priorities & the Effect of Having Multiple Jobs
It may seem like I’m unreliable and bad with deadlines. I can totally see where you get that impression – repeatedly late novel updates; last-minute, late-night updates for Words & Deeds; updates about trying to do better; etc. It probably seems like I’m a bit flaky and unconcerned with pesky details (you know, like when I said I would do something).
Unfortunately, if you only know me through these blogs, that impression isn’t going to change, but contrary to appearances, it’s not because I’m unreliable about deadlines – it’s because I was stupid enough to say deadlines that weren’t possible. Not really (ok maybe).
No, it’s because these blogs are not at the top of my list of priorities.
These days, I’m working full-time at my original job as well as trying to start my own business. I’ve also had multiple music performances and practices this month to take away more time. Those have been and continue to be my top priorities. Words & Deeds and twytte come after all of those things.
And it shows.
It shows in the late posts and the novels updates, especially. And, unfortunately, I can’t promise that that’s going to change. On the contrary, I can say that the post schedule will probably get even more unreliable as my second job takes off. I wish that weren’t the case (and I will try to keep to the schedule I’ve made), but I honestly don’t see this improving in the near future.
Someday, I hope to be back to 1 job again (cross your fingers). If/when that happens, my priorities will change, and the blogs can move back to regular updates. Until that golden, glowing day, however, this is the way it’s gonna be.
To summarize, a short dialogue:
A: Being an adult sucks.
B: Yep. And?
It is a task that I enjoy,
An action worth repeating,
But if I start the blogs again,
I’ll have less time for reading!
It’s not a very good excuse, but there you go. That’s why I’m late getting started again (1 reason). Whenever I get out of the habit of doing something, there’s always something else lurking in the wings, ready to jump out and take its place. In this case, reading and other chores have done a good job of it.
But that’s over now (well, as over as it gets). Although I haven’t decided on a new experiment, I’m going to start posting again and see what happens. Expect poetry at the very least. And as soon as I get caught up on worldbuilding and plotting, Deathwalker and Wind Town will update, too.
Em T. Wytte
It’s funny how when you work on multiple projects, sometimes they tend to blend together. After thinking about all the food used in books and movies for “10 Examples of Worldbuilding for Books & Films,” I just had to write about food and cooking today for twytte. The only problem? Now, I’m hungry. 🙂
Although I do not follow a strict update schedule (other than something has to be added daily), those of you who have noticed my writing patterns may have expected a Wind Town update today. I do try to update both novels weekly, but I also haven’t assigned days to update each one. And that was a very deliberate choice.
You see, there are several major risks to posting a novel online as I write it. One of the major risks is getting pretty far into it and realizing that I’ve gone in the wrong direction. I’ve seen this problem with several online comics over the years. They get to a certain point, and then, they just stop. I understand time commitment changes and things like that, but sometimes, the authors just wrote themselves into a corner or realized that they didn’t like where the comic was going anymore. I really don’t want to do that to these books, and having been through the experience, I really don’t want to do that to you readers.
I can promise that if I run into that problem (knock on wood), the story won’t just stop. Instead, I’d make the necessary revisions and update the changes. Unfortunately, that may not be too pleasant for readers either.
The goal is to avoid those revisions altogether – either by planning ahead or by finding ways to make any issues that come up work anyway. To do that, I really need to know where the story is going. Usually, I’m more of a discovery writer following a loose outline. The further I get into these stories, the more dangerous that method is going to be.
That’s the main reason I haven’t dedicated myself to specific posting days for the novels. If I start to work on one of them and feel like I need to do more worldbuilding and planning before I try to post anything, then I would rather delay the post than mess up the story. I may mess it up anyway (it’s a challenging experiment), but if I do, I’m going to go down fighting.
Thank you for bearing with me while I do.
It’s been a little strange – I don’t usually let anyone see my rough drafts as I’m writing, so that’s pretty nerve-wracking. I’m still not sure how far I’ll get before I break and go back and make revisions… But I’ve said that before (and probably will again). Other than typos, it hasn’t happened… yet.
Also, writing and posting each morning means that my brain tends to focus on the same subject matter. I have been trying hard not to give you too many poems and short stories about needing more sleep or caffeine. That’s about all my brain wants to think about first thing. If you see me trending in that direction a lot, feel free to let me know. If it becomes too much of a struggle, I may end up switching it to nightly posts, so be forewarned about that possibility.
On the plus side, I did get some short stories up. I didn’t get any plays written for this yet, so that’s my goal for the next round. Since the major goal is to keep the experiment going for at least a year, I have 9 months to get a play added. (I shouldn’t have told myself that.)
And, of course, the most important part of an anniversary: Thank you all again for reading! You guys are awesome! It’s so exciting to know that people are reading these posts, and I’d love to hear from you! Seriously, you’re welcome to send me prompts or comments at any time. If I get super ambitious (or find some free time stacked away somewhere), I may put up a survey or something. But for now, thanks for reading, and I hope you keep enjoying the random things I write!
Plotting out the details to slowly build each twist and turn to the level that the story deserves will be enough of a challenge (it’s a new level of intricacy for me), so Bloodletting is not going to be part of the daily post-as-I-write experiment for the foreseeable future. Sorry about that. I’ll probably post updates or more tidbits related to it later. I’ll definitely post something when I finish it (an announcement at least).
I’m still not 100% sure this method will work for Deathwalker and Wind Town for the whole process, but I will keep updating those as part of the experiment for as long as it does work. And I will continue trying to write without modifying already-published scenes. After all, this is meant to stretch my brainpower and strengthen my writing skills. I have to make it at least somewhat different from how I usually write.
On the plus side, having one fewer novel will free up more time for short stories, plays, and possibly more frequent novel updates (no promises). That said, sorry again for the change in plans, and thank you for your interest in these stories. I hope you enjoy them.
Wow! (Or should I say, “Whew!”?)
I’ve heard many people say that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. After too many years of wasting mine, I can only say that a mind is a terrible thing to waste away. I tried to think today, and I felt like someone who’s been lying in a hospital bed for months, trying to get up and walk. I can remember being able to do it, but my body doesn’t remember how.
I used to think. Honest. I remember being able to think. To reason, even. I remember being able to create words on a page, create stories, bring what I imagined to life. I swear I used to do that. Now, I’m staring at this page thinking… Well, trying to think. Mostly I’m staring at the page. Head in my hands, I’m looking at the screen as if I expect it to do tricks. I know it requires my input. Words will not appear on the page if I continue to sit and stare at it. That would be nice (pretty awesome and freaky, actually), but it’s not going to happen.
So how to relearn to think? The hospital patient would get physical therapy for their muscles and weight training to build then up again. I picture weight training for the brain, and all I get is an image of a hand weight in a pile of gelatinous goo. Oops. That’s not it. Maybe it would be reading serious books, well-written books with big words in them. Maybe I should do math problems. Heck, maybe I just need to write. Write everyday. Write and write and write whatever crap comes out until it starts to be good again.
And hope it’s not too late.
That’s what this blog is about.
This is when the artist becomes the slave to the art, and it’s not the type of moment that happens conveniently behind closed doors when you ask politely for inspiration. No, IDEAS come from outside stimulus. Whether it’s a Youtube video of a band, a comment from your boss, or a passing action by a stranger, something about the turn of phrase or thought catalyzes a reaction in the brain and gives birth to a cerebral traffic cop, re-routing priorities and upsetting any plans or schedules. This could be a brief delay or an entire detour that you cannot escape without consequences.
Let’s say you’re in the weekly office meeting, and in your boss’s prepared comments, some offhand remark flips the IDEA switch. Suddenly, you’re designing in your mind: colors, shapes, sounds, and textures. You’re adding layers: shaping, melding, removing, and shifting until a rough model glows in your mind with context and materials, notes and lyrics, shadows and light. Your body may still be in the meeting, your eyes open, but your awareness and your sight are so completely internal that only when that rough draft is done, the IDEA sated, are you again aware of the reality around you.
Shit, he’s still talking. How much did I miss? How long did that take?
It’s no wonder much of society thinks that artists are ditzy and flighty. So often, we can’t even have a conversation without getting lost in our own minds. Even those with artistic bents who’ve had occasional IDEAS consider the frequency of artists’ side trips self-indulgent and weak-willed. But when you have dedicated yourself to an art, when that is your career and your focus, IDEAS are the moments you live for. They are the treasure you struggle to find buried in yourself as you work and sweat in your home. They’re the dropped coins on the street that hunger has trained you to look for or the forgotten child that you shelter from the world.
IDEAS are an artist’s career. Focusing on one in conversation is like excusing yourself for a business call. Ignoring one is like a retail clerk ignoring a customer to talk to a friend. You can’t guarantee when another customer will come or that another one will come at all. It may be rude, but it’s both the business we’ve chosen and a result of how we’ve trained our minds to see.
Unfortunately, stepping out for a moment (mentally) is still easier for most people to understand and accept than the second, stronger kind of IDEA. This isn’t the brief delay where you seem to space out for a minute and then come back. No, this kind of IDEA is even more consuming and cannot be appeased by a rough draft or few moments of thought. It must be explored now, created now.
My first experience with this strength of inspiration came in my Junior year of high school. My English teacher drifted off-topic and told us a personal story that touched a chord in me and fired a need to create that I had never experienced before. It was a poem. It hadn’t been written yet – it didn’t exist in any way, shape, or form – but I knew it was a poem. I had to write it. It wasn’t something I could ignore or put off, I had to write it then. Like a compulsion or spell, it pulled at me and commanded I obey, or I knew the poem would be gone forever.
I wrote through that class and the next and the next. I forced myself to write class notes on one side, as quickly as possible, while the poem took form on the other. Even then, I don’t think I really heard or understood what anyone said to me, it passed through a part of my brain and on to the paper even as the rest of my mind shaped and sculpted words and lines to appease the fever that held me.
When the last line finally sat on the page, that terrible pressure disappeared like a rough storm at sea finally releasing a battered ship. Disoriented, dazed, the crew recovers and slowly starts putting the ship to rights, returning to normal life. My classmates may have thought I was drugged or ditzy, I don’t know. I only remember feeling drained as I emerged from my mind and took in the world again. Maybe an exorcism is a better example, and the spirit possessing me finally fled. The stories of séances where the ghost takes over the host’s hand and writes until his/her story has been communicated to the world certainly rings with the feeling of that compulsion.
Not that I blame IDEAS on ghosts.
But that compulsion to create shows the strength of this kind of inspiration. Ignoring one can be painful both in resisting the compulsion (think of an addict resisting their drug of choice) and in trying to recreate it later, at a more convenient time. For those who cherish the art inside us, trying to breathe fire into embers of what was (you swear!) a really good idea and being unable to rekindle it to equal flame is another pain and grief.
So the next time you see someone staring off into space or scribbling on a napkin and muttering, know that you are watching an IDEA attack and pay your respects to the artist in its thrall.