22 August, 2015

10 Things ... My Take

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.

From ThoughtCatalog.com comes an article entitled: 10 Things that Happen when You're Obsessed with Writing. And, here are my responses to those 10 things.

1. You’re overly conscious of other people’s traits

No, not entirely. In fact, I can be rather oblivious to even the obvious about others. I tend to listen more than I observe and observe setting more than the people inside it. I can tell you what trees are growing and the flowers planted in window boxes, smells, sounds, and traffic volume, the accent giveaways, and even what a majority of the folk seem to like wearing, but as for them personally ... even if I did have a hunch, it could be wrong.

2. And your surroundings

Well, yeah. I just said that, so ...

3. You’re always jotting ideas down

Not always. In fact, I rarely do this. And, believe it or not, it's been a safe bet thus far. I am not so far along in age that I'm as forgetful or absentminded as I presume to become. Yet, I know this is folly. Now, when I wake up from a terrific dream, I'll reach under the bed for my notebook/pen and jot THAT down, because we all know how fading dreams become with time.

4. No piece is ever good enough

Guilty! Gosh, how I wish this wasn't true. Even when I'm satisfied (or THINK I am) about a story I want to write or am writing or have written, that nagging doubt thing just refuses to give me any peace. I actually haven't gone back to re-read anything I've published ... yet. I'm too afraid that I'll end up rewriting the whole thing, which is a habit of mine, and I certainly can't do that with something on the market, now can I?

5. You read to procrastinate

Oh, yeah. And, you know what? I believe it has something to do with #4. There is always a story inside my head that needs writing, and it always seems like a best-seller, too. I've got the plot, characters, scenes, action down solid until I actually start typing, and then things start to veer off in an entirely new direction or simply peter out. So! I make the excuse that by reading the work of others, that I am somehow reigning in that wanderlust mentality of mine. It also helps (reading while writing) to brush up on and fine-tune some of my writing weaknesses, I think.

"Ah, so THAT'S how she hooks / entices / sets the scene / describes things / uses dialogue tags ..." etc.

6. Writing helps you get through things

No. Well, no in the sense that my reasoning isn't the same as the article author's. I do not write as therapy and never have. However, writing IS therapy in that the ability to escape my reality for a few hours a day is great and stress reducing. Right now, for example, I haven't written a word in more than two weeks because of current medical procedures. I'm just too antsy/anxious about the test results to be able to concentrate on anything else. I've never been able to multi-task, and writing fantasy while the possibility of death looms overhead just doesn't mix.

7. You have tons of unfinished pieces

But, of course! Like the article author, I, too, have a laptop folder filled with half-written and partially thought-out pieces. Images of people, clothing, places, and things that might fit into one of my stories, a growing list of NAMES for male and female characters, and a boat-load of Pinterest posts dedicated to things like synonyms, thesaurus help for certain words, and how best to use a semi-colon.

These are what I call my IDEAS and have labeled the folder as such. Sometimes it just happens that a story idea starts out sounding incredible, but somewhere along the way it loses steam and I abandon it for something else. That doesn't mean I'll never go back and read that piece to try and discover some way of resuscitation, but that remains to be seen.

8. You can work on one sentence for hours

Not necessarily, but I am in the habit of re-reading a paragraph or even a chapter trying to make it work. I'm fairly confident about each sentence I type, and I don't worry too much about grammar/punctuation as I go along ... I save that for edit mode. But, yes, there have been times when I'm just not sure about what is written or how it ties in with a previous scene and if it makes enough sense to fly with the reader. I worry more about being vague than I do about sentence structure.

9. One sentence can move you to tears

In other people's work, yes. Well, to be more precise, not so much a single sentence but a scene. I have actually choked up a few times by becoming emotionally attached to a single character in someone's novel. I root for them, am fond of their progress, and really get worked up when something goes wrong in their life. As for my own writing, I did get a bit melancholy writing the death scene in Sing to Me.

10. You feel empty if you don’t write

No, not empty; more like guilty. I feel bad for myself when I don't write -- like I called in sick when I'm not. It doesn't depress me or bring me down; I just know I should be writing when I'm not. I get hooked on Facebook games, Asian dramas, and reading other people's writing instead. Which I like to call 'study time' as a way of lessening the guilt ;-)

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