It’s been a rough couple weeks, causing me to completely miss several weekly posts.
It was one of those times where ‘life happens’, where the dose of life happening was a little higher then I strictly speaking would prefer. With two deaths, a birth, a lot to do at work, the flu and leakage in our bathroom in the wake of a conference which was awesome but left a lot of information and impressions to process, I’m now hoping for a couple of more quiet-like weeks, so I can process and start writing things down.
Now, I haven’t completely shut down or anything- I had that experience once as a teenager, when even more life happened then it did now and every piece of it was bad, and I hope to never again experience that numb bleakness before the pain hit a couple of days later. But to write about my impressions and thoughts, I need some semblance of brain space to sort them.
Fortunately this does not matter for my creative writing – a whole new story materialized out of nowhere the past couple of weeks. It’s my way of coping. Sometimes difficult, sometimes highly convenient. Especially since I also clean a lot. So now my house is sort of sparkly, and my word count is up…
Coming up from feeling sick, I’ve been spending a bunch of nights, while the world outside feels wet and dark, motivating myself by doing some editing. This may sound funny, but unlike most people, I enjoy the hell out of editing. For a long time I felt like I didn’t have the patience to finish a long story. When I am editing, I am looking at the proof that yes, I sat down and actually wrote all of those words. And now I get to fix the mistakes I made the first time around! (I am a total perfectionist. Making things better is something I always enjoy doing.) Also, I tend to write what I love. Wading trough the words is therefore fun. And because it refreshes my memory on what I’ve built, it’s very inspiring. I always end up having new ideas for little pothooks, either for the story I am polishing or for a different one, sometimes within the same story-world. It gives me a platform, all mine, to explore from.
One thing I have been spending a lot of thought on while editing, is the action versus detail balance. I have written about this balance before. This time, I have been working on a different balancing of this concept. Sometimes, describing instead of showing can speed up the pace of the story. Less detail, more skipping the less exciting parts. Sometimes, though, it turns something that could have been beautiful, meaningful or exciting into a bland description. I guess it’s also a part of the ‘showing’ or ‘telling’ balance, where I generally prefer showing wherever it doesn’t boggle down my story with too many details.
So within my editing I’ve been addressing a lot of smaller descriptions, asking myself, whether or not the description mostly speeds the story up or makes it more bland. And then the task of turning the bland bits into bits with more detail follows. I do hope in the end, this edit will improve the story. I think it will, and regardless of whether or not I’ll be successful, I am learning oodles about balancing my stories.
So for the last week and a half, I’ve spent most of my time sick at home. Sometimes, when I get sick, I can write just fine. A little slower, and I need to check everything twice for weird sentences and words that sounded better to my fever-clogged brain then they do on paper, but still. This time, however, not so much. It’s been a real struggle to get myself to pick up the pen at all.
What I have written wasn’t half bad, but it was just less then I would have liked. Less then I could written if I hadn’t gotten sick, even though I spent almost all of my time at home. So here’s to hoping I won’t get a relapse, and will be able to write more during the next couple of weeks.