Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A.D.D.

I don't think I officially have A.D.D, but I often feel as if I do. I'm constantly wanting to start something new, to pull something surprising out of my brain, and see what it will develop into. And this is actually a good thing, especially when I'm beginning a new project, but unfortunately all those flashes of inspiration seem to strike me when I'm trying to settle down and do the drudge work of editing.

Did I say "drudge work." I can't believe I typed that. I love to edit and have professed for years that if I can only get past that initial draft, I know I can craft something that works. There is something magical about reading one's own words aloud and realizing, hmmm, that doesn't work quite right. What about this? What about that? A cliche? Let me see if I can just spin that a little to the left. So what is going on here?

It's the novel. That multi-drafted cyper-folder with its "fits and starts" (there you go: cliche. I'll catch it later. Hmm maybe not), calling and repelling me all at the same time.

I made a vow this year that this was going to be it. I would get that dang book into the kind of shape that would allow me to start my agent search. But with me, as soon as I vow, I procrastinate. It titillates me to make a commitment and then renege. I actually feel that titillation in my body. Ooh, make a promise and break it? Why? I think there's a tiny part of me that is ready for the looney bin. Or maybe its latent teen rebellion, the one I never had.

I do get things done. I did vow when I quit my job that I would build my writing portfolio and I've done that. And my skills have become sharper, my ability to see what works and doesn't work more accurate. So yes. I am making progress with the portfolio goal. But I did vow when I quit my job that I would also finish the novel and market it and that is still the flamingo around my neck.

I don't know what it is about writing a book that is so darn hard, but part of it for me is that it activates my interest in everything else. Since I committed to finishing the book, I have helped remodel the back of my house, taken up jewelry making, dabbled in polymer clay, and PMC, and painting, as well as supersized my exercise program. These "hobbies" have been so much fun and I'm eating up all the new awarenesses that these interests bring to me. But. I sit down at the keyboard and think...hmmm, just an hour with all that color behind me on the work table might give me just the bump I need.

But I know that I must do the book first. Before the bump. Because if I can just remember that the writing offers its own bump, I could make progress.

I need to stay focused. I need to stop farting around, but I don't know how many times I need to say this to actually DO it. Today. I will work on the book before I touch a pair of pliers or open a tube of paint. TWO HOURS MINIMUM. I need to borrow Marley's chains.

3 comments:

Trish said...

It's interesting that you built the loft specifically for writing and now it's turned into your art studio. Maybe moving the writing to the den would take away the temptation to paint. I'm thinking that if you're choosing between doing something that's good for you (editing WCB), versus something that makes you feel good (painting with its instant gratification), you run the risk of resenting the writing. Maybe? Just a thought, for what it's worth.

Michael.S said...

I'm just as bad Gay...when istart writing my novel i run off and do other things...my first novel i found easier to write becuase i hadnt started short fiction or music.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with novels. I have two in the editing/revising/rewriting process, but the more I try to concentrate on them, the more my muse wants to write short stories. Curses!

So, you're not the only one.

Erin

http://www.erinmkinch.com