There are authors out there — I know, I’ve read their blogs — for whom writing, most of the time, is a giggly delight. Inventing richly-detailed, sparkly worlds full of fascinating characters and thrilling events! Writing considered as Getting Away With Something! Gosh, I just can’t believe I get to do this! HEY, KIDS, LET’S PUT ON A NOVEL!
Those folks represent one end of a continuum of attitudes. The other end is occupied by Mr. Earbrass’s Hand-Permanently-Attached-To-Furrowed-Brow School, for whom writing is a constant torment. The unbearable and unbridgeable distance between the idea and the words on the page! The horror of composition, matched only by the horror of revision, followed by the unspeakable traumas attendant upon publication and reception from the outside world! YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND HOW DIFFICULT IT IS.
I readily confess that I more frequently play for Team Earbrass than Team GoshWow. But the other day, I spent a significant chunk of time in the GoshWow corner, and being me, decided I should analyze the characteristics of that writing session to see if I could perhaps replicate it more often.
Some Factors Involved That One Time (Sunday, Actually) When I Had Fun Writing
1. I had exercised earlier that day. Sara Zarr and I have discussed the miracle of the elevated heart rate at some length. There’s something about focusing on your body (and perhaps the awesome selections on your portable music device) that frequently manages to shake ideas loose.
2. I knew what scenes I’d be working on, and what each one needed to accomplish. The project I’m working on, the graphic novel Bad Houses, has a detailed outline, and — GoshWow! — I have found that working from an outline helps me considerably. (The actual process of making the outline, on the other hand, sends me right back to Earbrass. But we’ll ignore that for now.)
3. I was able to picture, vividly, what the scenes would look like when transformed into comics panels by the capable hand of my collaborator, Carla Speed McNeil. (This could be said to argue that I should write nothing but comics & graphic novels in future, but it can also be interpreted as relating to #2: being very clear about the point of the scenes.)
4. It was nice out. Okay, so I can’t actually control for the presence of sunshine-generated mood-lifting Vitamin D, but, you know, I could drink more milk maybe? (In a latte, of course.)
Writers who are reading, where do you fall on the continuum? And what makes you veer in one direction or the other?