05 October, 2015

A Writer's Habit

When it comes to being organized, efficient with time, and disciplined in my endeavors, the word FAIL always springs to mind.

Articles about writers and how they write (wrote) gives clear indication that some were extremely organized while others possessed peculiar habits and still more remained staunch believers in superstition.

Truman Capote is relate-able because he, like me, never wrote a word on a Friday -- his being a superstition thing, and mine being because that's my day off.

In the book Odd Type Writers  by Celia Blue Johnson, I discovered that I can also relate to James Joyce and Dorothy Parker:

A minority, however, measured quantity as inversely proportional to quality. James Joyce proudly considered the completion of two perfect sentences a full day of work and Dorothy Parker, an obsessive reviser, even skewed to the negative, once lamented, “I can’t write five words but that I change seven.”

My kind of people, them. ;-)

From Writer's Relief comes an article that includes 4 Ways to Get Organized when or prior to writing.

Carry Paper with You; Construct, Then Write; Consider Going Digital, and Don’t Plan at All!

Of these four, I like the last one best but am also inclined to do more research on the third one.

THINKING of ways to improve is better than not doing it at all, but putting any of the suggested digital apps into practice is another thing entirely.

Scrivener, yWriter5, and Dark Room are examples of software I've downloaded and attempted to use but failed miserably at before running back to Word and liking it much more.

Scrivener is not free and, for me, is the most intimidating piece of artistic endeavor I've ever come across. And, everything is so tiny! I just don't get it, but don't take my word for it, because it happens to be one of the most widely used apps on the market today.

Same thing with yWriter5. I still have the free version on my laptop, and every once in awhile I'll open it up just to see if maybe today is the day when I'm a little smarter and can actually figure out what to do with it.

Like Scrivener, yWriter5 is great for organized folk who will no-doubt figure it out right away and then run with it and like it.

As for me? These types of help apps are just a little too busy and convoluted for my simplistic sensibilities.

And, it never fails as well, that when I come across another article about getting organized and learning from those who are extremely organized, that I experience this underwhelming sense of guilt about my own, supposedly bad (or lazy) (or BOTH) habit of not being organized.

Who doesn't want to get organized?

Who doesn't want to eventually sit down at their mode of creating, be it pen/paper or electronic device/fingers and whip up the next Great Expectations after getting so organized?

The benefits alone are reason enough to want to at least try, right?

Knowing precisely how your story will end is one.

I start out thinking I know, but the chances of that particular ending occurring by the time I'm ready to type the words THE END are usually slim to none.

Understanding your main characters inside and out is another.

Again, I like to think that I do know them and quite well, thank you. What they look like, how they sound, how others perceive them upon first glance, the way they interact with others, in public, in private, what they like and don't, what they fear and why, who they gravitate toward and repel from and why, etc.

Also, when organizing a story, you are better able to see how all of the puzzle pieces that are inside your head will fit together in a concise manner that will not only help you to write the story without much doubt (or effort?) but also make the story more enjoyable for the reader.

And, yes, I do think that this, too, occurs by some supernatural force within my own mind.

I just know where the story is going, how it will all blend seamlessly, and reach a logical conclusion.

But, that is just it. I simply THINK and therefore it is so.

My charting a course prior to writing a novel has yet to occur, and the guilt thing about being a wing-it writer makes me want to give charting a try -- at least once -- just to see how and IF it might actually work to help improve my writing.

For starters, I bought a white board and some colorful markers, and there is a thick packet of colorful sticky notes somewhere inside my desk, too.

My laptop PICS folder is loaded with images of everything from hot guys to pretty women, cool clothing, stylish interiors, locations, cars, exotic foods, and even private jets (so I sound like I know what I'm talking about when I try to describe them in my work).

Note taking is a stretch, but there have been times when I've jotted down an idea or three in Notepad and saved it to my desktop so I know it's there and can't lose sight of it when the time actually comes to write words that will eventually form a story and culminate into my next publication.

It probably boils down to something as lazy or effort inducing as work that I never bother with charting a course prior to writing a novel.

Instead, I spend hours, days, weeks, and even months (last novel published in August -- word count for next novel is still zero in October) THINKING about the next story.

It's my writer's habit.

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

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