As previously mentioned, I’m writing again. I failed to make it clear that I’m writing fiction, not a pin loom weaving book. Sorry if that’s disappointing to my very few fans. Technically I’m concurrently writing an online pin loom weaving book. It’s not exactly organized, but at least I’m capturing and sharing the info I’ve accumulated on the subject.
Writing fiction is fun, funner than nonfiction. Both are a lot of work, both enjoyable. Maybe technical nonfiction has the advantage of being more quickly satisfying (an informative blog post only takes about 100 photos and the better part of a day). Writing fiction places the author in the position of a sort of demi-god. You have to make up a world, characters, and all the weather, laws, and situations. You have to make a lot of choices. And you’re not allowed to be boring.
When I got started on this current book, there was the initial excitement of jotting down all the possibilities—pages and pages of them in my trusty Mead Two-Subject spiral notebook (on sale for $2 because the calendar insert they included expired in 2005—a mistake I’m sure they won’t repeat).
As possibilities began to take the shape of a story, I decided to do the exercises in The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman. Seemed such a good idea, but it was boring, like being in school. I plugged away at it, trusting this experienced author’s assurance that my story would be better for the torture (my word) I was going through. And, lo, my story was better. I learned a lot about my characters—at first. But eventually the exercises stopped being beneficial and instead became a drag and a drain. I didn’t know my characters well enough to explore all the in-depth stuff he asked me about them. They hadn’t DONE anything yet. Writing, which I hadn’t wanted to do in the first place, was now a more postpone-worthy activity than, say, exercise.
After putting off my hour-and-a-half-to-two-hours-minimum sessions for a couple of days, I finally sat down, set aside the manual, and just started writing chapter two. I loved it! It would need a lot of revision, but not only was I doing the fun part of writing, I was also using the information I’d worked on from The Plot Thickens. The story was moving forward. I had re-engaged.
I’m an advocate for this two-pronged approach to learning—learn by book work and exploring. There’s no substitute for study, but there’s also no substitute for individual creativity. Trust others and yourself. But I must amend—it’s really three-pronged for me. When I start a writing session with prayer I am never disappointed.
Maybe I’ll go back to the exercises in The Plot Thickens when I’ve got more of the story underway. But it won’t be my only instructor. Other books also fan creative sparks. Finally got my title after reading some of Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Ann Hood’s Creating Character Emotions is going to play a huge role in my revisions. And I’m also fond of Les Edgerton’s Hooked and David Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines.
Now—a word about my writing station. I started writing in the dining room, but felt the need to be able to move around a bit more without cracking my knee caps on table legs.
If I could only sit on the floor, I thought (lesson learned from Katy Bowman, Move Your DNA). But how? (I’ve written lying on my bed before; it’s not as comfy as it sounds.)
Then I remembered this “standing work station” I removed from my computer table some time ago (standing at the computer didn’t work for me; just didn’t). It’s locked into its highest position. I sit on a yoga bolster and drape a yoga mat over the metal bars at the base of the stand. Perfect writing desk. I can sit straddle, cross-legged, or half-and-half. The keyboard tray is a great place to stash books and other parts of the manuscript I need to keep handy while I work. Off to my right is a formerly empty book case shelf that holds my not-presently-in-use stuff.
The day will come when it’s too cold to sit on the floor for long; the day will also come when I need to spend more time writing at the computer. This writing station takes up little space, can easily be stored or moved to a warmer location.
My outline is charging along, chapters are starting to flow, and I’m comfortably seated on the floor while I work. I’m about as totally happy with writing as I can be.
(I wrote this post because I want to remember how much joy I’m experiencing with my book here in its early stages.)