I have finally finished typing up a story, Post Divergence. I had finished writing it a few weeks ago now. But typing it up took a few more weeks. My intention is to put it on the Kindle Marketplace. But it is still far from ready. I printed out a copy to edit by hand and then a copy of the first draft for posterity.
Writing this story became a chore towards the end, which is unfortunate. It started out as fun. I was whimsical at first. I had a loose idea of what I wanted to happen, which is good for creativity. It wasn\’t until I was over halfway done that I had an outline. The problem with writing this story in this way is that there are a lot of plotholes and incongruities between the beginning of the story and the end of the story. So much of it changed as I went along. And now there\’s a lot I have to fix. But the important part is that I finished something.
I did it. I wrote a story. It\’s not quite a full novel. It\’s sitting at 27,000 words. But it exists. And it\’s important to me that it exists, even if it isn\’t polished.
If there is one thing that I can take away from writing this story it is this:
If I\’m going to work on a creative project, I should pick a project that I love because creative projects require my undivided attention, and my heart-soul-and-brain. It is crucial that I do not rush.
(I certainly rushed during this project…)
We can also substitute the word love for care. Care is more relevant than love. Love strikes me as insufficient; it\’s tainted by its association with mere-infatuation. But care is deeper than love. Care implies that the relationship is meaningful, that the relationship itself is important, that the object of care is not merely a means to an end but rather an end in itself.
If I would have cared more for this story, Post Divergence, I would have spent more time with the characters. I would have listened better. But I was too wrapped up in finishing the story so that I could move on, which meant I cut corners. I should have been more patient. And I wish I could have enjoyed the process of writing.
Deadlines and goals are fine, if not necessary. But I was treating an imaginary deadline as if it were a finish line. A deadline is not a finish line; do not race towards it. A deadline is more like a frame; fit as much as you need and can.
That\’s another important idea. It came up during psych-therapy a few months ago. My therapist said that it was important that we limit our sessions to a certain time. She didn\’t explain exactly why, but it\’s something that I have thought a lot about.
A time frame forces us to prioritize, to sort, to first bring forth what is most pressing. Suppose that your house in on fire and you have two minutes to escape with what you can. What do you grab? —what you care about most.
My life is short and fleeting. And my time to write is even shorter. If I am going to spend my time writing, I should write about what I care about most.
Now how do I figure out what I care about most?
I want to be a published writer. Or, at least I think I do.
I know that I would like to say, \”Yes I am very smart and a good writer. And I can prove this to you because my work was published in Asimov\’s.\”
I worry that my desire to publish is ego driven. The problem I see with being ego driven is that that would mean that I didn\’t really care for my work; I was merely writing to be published which would make me feel better about my insecurities. Another problem with doing a project motivated by ego is that it is shallow. I don\’t want to write something shallow. I want to put my whole self into it. I don\’t want to merely craft something that will pass.
But the problem is that the more you put yourself into your work, the more rejection hurts. Maybe that is part of my reluctance to work on something that could be published.
Why do I have a desire to be published? —Maybe I don\’t need to answer that question. Maybe it\’s sufficient to have the desire and approach it in the right way.
I took a class to get my motorcycle endorsement on my license last Friday. I\’m part of the way there. I only have my permit. I need to retest for my full endorsement.
I keep thinking about something that the instructor said:
\”Ride your own ride.\”
He said this on a few occasions, namely when someone would ask a really specific or overly general question that didn\’t have an obvious answer.
Me: A friend told me that when I\’m on the freeway I should go somewhat faster than the flow of traffic. Is that right?
In John Oliver\’s voice: Ride your own ride.
The instructor was English, so I kept pretending his voice was John Oliver\’s. It helped pass the time during classroom sessions.
But there\’s a lesson in this. The rider/writer has to assess their circumstances. Platitudes and \”expert advice\” won\’t make you a good rider/writer. Every situation is different. You must respond accordingly. But by all means, practice turning, swerving, speeding up, and braking. And keep a buffer between yourself and the other cars. But the real lessons are learned en route.
I guess another way you can put it is this: Write your own story.