Sometimes, you just have to run with it
The last few days I’ve written a large number of words I don’t particularly care for. Why? Because sometimes you have to. This is stuff I’ll never publish, never show anyone. But it’s covering a lot of ground with ideas I have, things I want to write, but things that aren’t really going to be publishable. Ideas that don’t work. Stories that turn out to be stuck, or stupid.
This sounds like a waste of time but sometimes the best way to get an idea out of your head is to write it down. This is why I hate to lose writing: once I’ve written something, be it a scene or an outline, I hate re-writing it. I feel like I’m wasting time.
A lot of times I get side-tracked with the stories I am writing because I have some other idea — “look, shiny!” This is the closest I get to writer’s block — I’m not blocked, I just want to do something completely different than I am at the moment.
The quality of my writing suffers if I attempt to force a scene I don’t want to write at the moment. So I’ve tried to get away from that, by actually embracing my spastic brain.
Is this the best solution? Probably not.
I’ve set a goal for myself to write more, and consistently. Every day has to hit at least a certain number of words — preferably around two thousand not counting blog posts. While I’ve started keeping track of the words I write here, this thing is like a journal, a thought process, a way to spread messages. It isn’t fiction, although I may start writing shorts/serials for the blog soon to show off and get free content out there.
Crap, Practice, and Different Voices
Another gain to writing completely unrelated stuff is that I can write in a different voice or style than I’m currently using — trying something new is helpful. An artist does not become great by only working on a single painting, and only in a specific way. An artist becomes great by making art — look at the different things Picasso did.
While what I am doing does not compare to Picasso’s different types of paintings, it does give me more practice at being different.
Lots of Plates
Finally, I find that I am my most successful when I give myself multiple projects to write in — lately, I’ve been spinning my tires because I decided that the next Cigars and Legs stories were the most important and I couldn’t write anything else. That sounds like great focus and dedication, but in reality having a different project to work on gives me somewhere to go when I’m either tired of writing as Ron, or I’m tired of the scenes we’re at, or any other number of things — like when I write myself into a corner.
One obvious and public way this is apparent is when I write a ton of political articles right in a row, then go a month without talking about politics and sometimes even with bare bones updates. This happens because of burn-out. Sometimes you give your legs a rest and work on your upper body. Sometimes, I need to give ideas and topics a rest.
Plus, nothing is more motivating than success. By having many projects, I can switch from one to another if I’m lacking in success or progress. Eventually I’ll settle in to something that gives me success — even if it’s just a big word count number. That motivation then feeds the urge to gain more success which can propel me forward on a stuck project.
So, write your crappy story. You don’t have to show anyone. It’ll get it out of your system and relax your cramped brain when it comes to your other projects. Ramble about politics if you usually write about video games. When your biceps are tired, switch to squats.
Focus is great. Tunnel-vision is not.