The price must be paid for going public, and I am ready to pay it. I hit several instructional snags, which is not to say that learning got in my way but that my getting in my own way might have something to teach you. Or me. Whoever is paying attention.
I wrote 1000 words a day for each of the five weekdays last week, and then I hit snag one. I had not officially decided whether or not I was required to write on the weekends, and so I went on not knowing until the day had spent itself on chores and stuff and some fun and was gone. Since I had not written on Saturday, it was likely that I had in place a policy that I would not write on the weekends, but I considered that perhaps a six-day-a-week schedule might make sense. Thus did I spend Sunday watching the time go elsewhere until there was no more Sunday left and only a Monday to face.
By this time I’d not-written enough to send myself into a bit of a crisis. My brain wrested charge of the project from my storyteller, and my brain was not altogether pleased with what had been done in her absence. The brain never is pleased with extra-brain activities. Mine was no exception.
Hrumph, said my brain. This is terrible stuff here. (Actually, we–my committee–had all been most pleased on Friday when I’d finally given over to the flow of the story and shut down the brain’s commentary sufficiently and really let it rip, but by Monday all that was long in the past, and we had new concerns.) You need a plot. You need to know where you are going. And you can’t go to Tel Aviv if you haven’t been there since you were thirteen.
This was a problem. My storyteller is hopeful and adventurous. My storyteller believes that what she can’t remember of Tel Aviv, she can imagine, either accurately or better, as it should be rather than as it is. My storyteller believes in The Secret and in fairy tales and in the undercover lives of teddy bears. My brain knows that she is not to be trusted.
My brain put the kibosh on all this nonsense and got things going in another direction. My brain enlisted the brilliant Pilar Alessandra. She is a discovery of Angie’s. She teaches screenplay writing, and Ang is a real fan and finally bought her DVD. So last night we put it on and I did a bunch of brainstorming and got a lot of exciting ideas. My brain was happy. My storyteller was excited, too.
Today, I am halfway through my 1000 words, and have not yet incorporated all these new insights. But just by going back to the writing itself, I learned new things about my character, Edward, and about his story. I remembered the gifts of the storyteller to discover through invention rather than through thinking. To create through letting go rather than through controlling.
I know that I will continue to wrestle with these two parts of myself, and I know that the strengths of my writing depend upon both of them. I just wish they didn’t get in each other’s way so much. It feels as if I’d have more time for writing if I could stop arguing with myself!