Writing is a journey, not a destination.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Just Felt Like Writing

You know that scene in Forrest Gump when he's been running for a while and a reporter asks him why and he says, "I just felt like running"? No one believes him, of course. Why would any intelligent person go through all that hardship and discomfort just because he felt like it? Only the people who know Forrest (maybe two? at this point) know why he's running.

When I was younger, I drew all the time. I have the sketchbooks to prove it. I was pretty good, if I do say so myself. Why did I stop? Because the feeling went out of my drawings. Somewhere in college, I stopped drawing emotion and started focusing on technique and the result was a taxidermist's dummy compared to a living bird. I can see it happening in the sketchbooks, and I could feel it happening inside me. So I stopped. I rarely pick up a pencil anymore because the result is disappointing.

Is writing the same thing for me? I couldn't stop myself from writing Star of Justice. If you'd tied my hands behind my back, I would have written with a pencil in my mouth. I finished Elementals, and it's as full of life and emotion as anything I drew in my teens, but it was a knock-down, drag-out to finish it.

Now... Now, it all feels dead and lifeless. The technique is OK, but I've lost the emotion. I look through all the story beginnings I wrote years ago and it's like thumbing through my sketchbooks.

Professional writers are all about the discipline, the outlining, the Butt In Chair that gets it done. Stop whining about your muse and study your character if you're stuck. Polish your technique. Focus on excellence. But if the result is a Frankenstein's monster parody of life, why bother?

I've been dragging Price of Justice along by the hair for two years. I'm half done, as far as I can tell, and I don't care whether or not I finish. The story mocks me with it's two-dimensionality; it's caricaturic nature. I just don't feel it.

I'm torn between giving up and pushing on. I don't care about making money or my name on a cover or a bestseller list. I care about a story I love. If I can't write that, I'm wasting my time.

Maybe I just felt like writing.

1 comment:

  1. Is it possible you're feeling this way because you feel like you have to do it? I'm a bit nervous myself because part 3 of my series is looming and I identify with what you're saying. My experimental "method" for getting around this is to write something radically different in between each part of the series, to take my mind off it for a while. It worked well for part 2 because I couldn't wait to get back to the story. I'm trying the same again for part 3. I hope it works....


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