Keeping those dry spells short

And as with all patterns, we can look at them as self-contained little programs: they have a trigger, they execute certain actions, and they have an (often elusive) off-switch.

I find that when I spend a day doing writing-related work, but not writing, I go into the wrong rabbit hole and get away from my story. This is a pattern I now recognize.

And as with all patterns, we can look at them as self-contained little programs: they have a trigger, they execute certain actions, and they have an (often elusive) off-switch.

So, now that I am finally recognizing this pattern, I can expect the off-switch, in fact, I can accelerate the program by eliminating many of the repetitive strings of behavior that take place before despair forces a new action (and a new program).

My writing program can be overwhelming at times, and I’ve come to understand that if I relax some of that binge-writing behavior, I can sustain a writing practice for longer – or, more realistically, I can keep the distraction program at bay. It will still appear and it will still run, but knowing that a thing has an ending makes it easier to endure.

Like all that advice when you have a bad break-up that boils down to “this too shall pass,” while feeling like nonsense in the moment, is 100% true (if you let it, that is).

So, I saw the end of the thing, I made some good use of the distracting functions within the larger program itself, and now I’m heading back to the writing program – literally and figuratively.

Wound Season 2 Finished – phew

I originally started writing Wound back in 2021 to try out the new Kindle Vella platform. I’d been posting some other stories (The Shape of Us and others) with other venues and enjoyed the process of writing an episodic story. While I’ve had some qualms about the Vella platform (no one knows about it, the top stories rarely change) the biggest issue has been my inconsistency with publishing. I’m the Togashi Yoshihiro of Vella authors. Though, without two beloved franchises and a large fan base. I’ve just got the intermittency down pat.

But this week I wrote the last three episodes of Season 2 (ep. 48-50), and the last episode will be live on November 10th – this Friday. Boy, am I happy.

The trouble was episode 47. There was a lot I already had written about Paul’s experience in the Town Hall, and some of the most important dialogue I’d already worked out, but I couldn’t’ see how I could move into nor out of that episode. It was as dark to me as it was to Paul, though he can see in the dark now, so whatever Paul, you jerk!

Then I realized that I could use that to my advantage and, as Dean Wesley Smith says, just “write into the dark.” It didn’t matter what I wanted to happen, or how the next scene would start. I just needed to write the next sentence and let the characters figure it out.

It worked–because of course it worked. It’s even worked for me before and it works every time I re-remember that this is what writing is about. Not plotting or scaffolding or snowflaking, at least not for me. Writing has to be fun and scary and unknown.

I dove in and let Paul tell me what to write. I fought with him a bit here and there, mostly to get him angry, but then we went somewhere I didn’t expect, someplace not on my story GPS. It scared me. And because it scared me, it scared Paul. Good!*

So, if you’d like to read Wound, all 50 episodes so far, I’d love to hear your comments. Season 3 is bubbling up in my head right now, but I’m not going to let it stew too long. I’m gonna jump right in and drown.

*Don’t worry about Paul. He’s an ass, but I love him and will celebrate and torture him as much as possible.

Getting out of my own way

I’ve been trying to work through some small blocks that I’m putting in the way of getting my writing done. I had some low ambitions for October. I decided to remove myself from the Prep-toner nonsense by getting another book done before I start the one for NaNo.

I have, of course, not yet finished the book.

I don’t want to talk about fear or anxiety since I’m not sure those are my particular issues at the moment – though fear is always an issue when you endeavor on a creative journey. No, I think this is something else.

I am having too much fun and it feels like I’m doing it wrong.

I’d decided to use Dean Wesley Smith’s advice in his book ˆWriting into the Darkˆand just go with the flow, focusing on starting and cycling back a bit here and there to make sure threads are followed and tied up. While I already had a loose idea of the steps in the plot (it is a murder mystery/thriller), I decided to stop trying to figure out my characters first and just let them tell me their story.

it’s gone in a few weird directions, but I’m having a blast. I think that’s why I’ve been hesitating.

I don’t want to write a junk draft and then go back and revise. Like Smith, I feel like I’ve already been down that road. Granted, I don’t have the years of experience, nor the bibliography to back this up, but it feels right for me.

But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m supposed to be suffering. (I’m typing this on a tiny, Bluetooth keyboard connected to my phone – it’s hugely convenient, but my wrists are suffering, so there’s that.)

I’ve got a pretty creepy scene coming up and I’m excited to write it, but I’m worried that my excitement will build up my expectations and I’ll be disappointed with what I produce. When I write that out, it sounds absurd, but inside my head it’s perfectly rational.

My brain is just trying to protect my ego. I wish I could tell it not to bother. Well, in the meantime, while I procrastinated on the creepy scene, I’ve written this blog post. Thanks for reading this far and I wish us all luck!