Saturday, 25 June 2011

Procrastination #2

I'm not entirely sure how I stumbled on this site - most likely when I was "researching" - but it's a doozy. And because it had me in absolute stitches, laughing out loud like a mad woman when I was trying to be quiet while the kitchen guys were installing my new kitchen, I wanted to share it with you, so you too can enjoy being looked at like you're nuts while laughing hysterically at a computer screen.

Warning: only click on the following link when you have time to procrastinate. You could lose hours on this (hours I say!).

Damn You Autocorrect

What's your favourite? And have you suffered from autocorrect syndrome yourself? Just quietly, my favourites are the ones where the other person tries to pay out the original gaff, but the words don't come out right either, making it one all-round confusing but funny-as-hell conversation. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Finally, my craziness makes sense...

Every now and then I feel like my brain is empty (see my previous post for details of that awful affliction). But most of the time, I feel like my brain is in compete chaos. Ideas, stories and characters jostle to be heard and sometimes it's a fight to the death. I have been feeling pretty bad about not being able to concentrate on just one thing - feeling a little scatterbrained to be honest, starting work on one idea in the morning, only to be working on something completely different by the end of the day. Then I read this post over at the Kill Zone blog about Isaac Asimov, and it all made perfect sense. The story says that he worked on multiple projects at a time, and had several typewriters on the go at once, each with a different story in them, so he could work on whatever it was that took his fancy. When he was stuck on one, he got up, sat down at another typewriter and kept going on something different.
This appeals to me for a few reasons, but not least of which because it sounds just like me. I have several stories on the go at once, all in different stages of production. I find I can focus on finishing one WIP only once I am past the half-way-ish mark of the manuscript. Before that though, the plot is still percolating in my brain, and sometimes, when I've been working on, say, my children's fantasy for a few hours, my main character for my new YA novel will pop into my head with a new scene, so I must write it down before my brain gets a chance to filter it out. If I get on a roll with that one I just keep going with it until it peters out, and I go on to something else. I try not to jump around too much though, and try to spend a few hours or few thousand words on each project before skipping out and cheating with something different.
Several of my Support Crew think I'm totally crazy for working like this, and tell me that perhaps the reason I struggle with finishing any of my WIP is because I have too much on my plate. But the truth is, I am slowly working my way to the finish line with each of my WIPs, and as long as I'm going forward with something, I'm not treading water with anything.
It also allows me to not put too much pressure on myself to get something done, and so far I have managed to stave off writer's block pretty well using the Asimov method. I think writing is kind of like cooking - once you know the basics you work by feel. So once I get to the stage where I feel like a ms is starting to take off, I run with it. I know when I get on that roll and I can be cooped up for hours, days even, taking advantage of it. But I can just as easily be sitting on the lounge listening to music or watching a movie with a notepad beside me writing down plot-points or character traits or other notes about totally random WIP as I they pop into my head.
Sometimes, I feel like I have so many ideas running around in my brain, that if I don't get them down onto paper, they'll be lost forever - or they've annoyed me so much that I'll feel guilty working on my current WIP while trying to both ignore the new idea and not forget it. Sometimes I just think "hang it" and don't work on anything at all. I like to take a break from it all every now and then, especially when some distractions are just oo hard to get away from - like getting in a brand new kitchen, as is happening right this minute.
I like working like that though. I enjoy working like that. And it's probably the reason why doing NaNoWriMo this year will be such a big test for me. I'm not sure how I will go trying to concentrate on just one story for a whole 30 days. I guess I will just work around my preferred style, and keep a notebook by my side to dip in and out of other WIP if I feel I'm getting a little stale on my NaNo novel. And maybe only take notes on other WIP instead of getting in too deep with scenes and only after a set word count.
I think the lesson is that no matter what anyone tells you, you eventually find your own way. Writing has been such a solitary, secret and personal thing for so long now that I need to just trust my instincts - even when people with the best of intentions tell me I'm stark raving mad for trying to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

Friday, 10 June 2011

My brain is mush...

So I was going to post on something totally mundane, like how I hate when people who are obviously friends or family or, shock horror, the author posing to be someone else, give 5-star reviews to a book that sucks. And I mean really sucks. But I don't want to whinge today.
Plus, I'm struggling at the moment with my writing, so what better way to sort out my shit than to tell the world about it (or the 5 people who actually follow this blog).
My last blog was on procrastinating, and while I have been doing some more of that over the last week or so, I've actually been so bad that I've been procrastinating on my procrastination. Sitting down to my laptop, opening up my web browser, and then shutting it back down again because I couldn't even be bothered to do any research.
To be honest, I feel like I'm all out of ideas. My brain is so full at the moment, I feel like it's empty. Like I went to bed with stuff in my head, and it all leaked out while I was sleeping.
I've read over all the stuff I've evr started, even going back to stuff I wrote nearly ten years ago - that was really painful to read let me tell you. I mean, I've been avoiding it for so long because I knew it was crap, but man, I had no idea how bad it was! On the flip-side, at least I know I've improved. So, that made me a little happier. But even going over everything I have ever written in order to try to spark some sort of idea, any idea, I still came up blank.
Now, some Well-Meaning People would tell me to suck it up and just write - write something, anything, just to get over this little speed bump, and then once your brain is back in gear, pick something you actually want to be working on again and get stuck in.
Well, Well-Meaning People, I don't mean to be rude, but you suck it up this time, cos I have a better idea. One that is far more fun, at least a little productive (though not necessarily for my writing, but meh), and is oh so destructive.
My wife and I have been slowly renovating our little house, and we have finally come to the point when we get our brand spanking new kitchen. Therefore, the old green and orange shocker needs to go - this weekend. My plan then, to work out my shit, is complete and utter destruction. Well, maybe not complete, but possibly utter. Anyway, this old kitchen needs to go, and I have a sledge-hammer with my name on it. And every time I swing that baby at that old crappy kitchen, I'll be imagining it's one of my neurotic characters who won't do as they're told or those who have fallen blindly into one of my gaping plot holes, never to be seen again. And I'll be cursing my dead-ends and loose-ends, and when I'm finished with them, I'm going to kick my muse's butt good and proper. Skip out on me at short notice, will she!
Then, after the old kitchen is gone and the space in the kitchen is a totally blank canvas, and the decks of my over-taxed brain are cleared, I'll have a break - albeit a very brief one. I'm taking a week's holiday (starting tomorrow), so after the kitchen is in mid-week, I'll sit back down at my laptop, and hopefully coax my muse back with some quiet self-reflection and maybe a little chocolate (she's a sucker for Smarties). As for the characters, well, if they've managed to survive my rampage, then they'll be stronger for it, and I may, may, find a part for them in one of my novels.

Happy long weekend everyone.