Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Downside to Writing - Life

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury

I'm writing my second novel. For about six years now. Back in July, I isolated myself - Butt in Chair - for an entire week in an effort to recover and organize the work I had only touched a few times in the past few years. I had success. I whittled down 50,000 words to 36,000, organized my notes, made new ones, adjusted my characters' needs, wants, thoughts, and paths. Silenced my writing friend's swinging whip and sent off a new chapter by week's end.

With brief interludes caused by real life, I now have 46,000 (goal 80,000 - 90,000) words and a main character long past stuck in a wheat field in South Dakota. She's now in Montana, further entrenched. More important, I've figured out my antagonist's secret. Knew she had one, just wasn't sure exactly what it was.

I love it when my mind is in the scenes on my pages and the day sweeps by like only a few minutes. It takes so long to get into that mind frame, yet only a moment for it to go away and a complete disconnection to occur while my two worlds attempt to rejoin.

Stepping back from the lives I've created in my writing and running smack dab into the people I live and socialize with catches me off guard. Like I'm caught floating from cloud to cloud, dilly dallying the day away. In my world of fiction writing, my characters are bigger than life, where they do and say things I never would have the guts to do or say. When I live in their world, I am someone else.

The shift to Earth is not easy as words - in verbal format - fail me. Most often, they come out damn wrong. My real world becomes one I don't fit into - like getting a large octagon through a small oval. Makes me want to stay in my written world. Much easier when I'm controlling everything - if that makes any sense.

Ever feel that way? And not just in regard to writing?


  1. I can understand how that can happen. You feel in control when you're writing.. you are. Very cool that you're working on this novel. That's quite the accomplishment. Now get that BIC! ;)

  2. Yes, I can relate.

    I think in parallel: I prefer creating and giving the examinations rather than having to take them. The appeal of control.

  3. Oh, I know I'm not in "control" of anything, but I know what you mean. There is a serious disconnect between Blogworld, for example, and what is "real." And it always seems that just when that elusive idea is shimmering right in front of me & can almost be touched...the phone rings.

    Hooray for the progress you've made on that novel! Back to it now...

  4. It certainly sounds as though you are firmly back in the "writing saddle" again, fully focused and motivated to complete this novel of yours. How exciting!

    Oh goodness, yes, life is so darn distracting, isn't it? It takes me forever to find my writing mojo, and all these silly, pesky interruptions (school-run, hungry kids, dog-walks, shitty loo's that need a-scrubbing)are forever leaping out to ambush me! But as I don't have control over my characters any more than I do of my family, I'm resigned to forever flitting, clueless, between the both (shrug). I hear discipline is a wonderous thing - one day, maybe.. I hope.

  5. I can't imagine writing a book...but I just read a nice little novel The Dirty Life ..about a woman meeting farmer etc...and it was so cute. I thought about you and said to myself she could do that (write I mean)...

  6. Interesting hearing how you flesh out and give purpose to the characters running around in your mindseye.

    FWIW...we picked up the towels and the undies for the shoot. They're back.

  7. I cannot even imagine writing 80,000 words. The weekly 500 is sometimes almost beyond me.

    Glad you got your girl out of South Dakota - it takes courage to leave there ;o)

  8. What an undertaking! Can't imagine the discipline it must take to write a novel. Sounds like you have a good handle on things. Good luck to you!

  9. I had a character's life change and let them die, and it was close to losing a friend.

  10. Makes perfect sense to me! You can MAKE characters do what you want when you can't do that in real life.

  11. I seem to be a nonfiction writer only. Even so, immersion in a book-sized project takes one out of the day-to-day in a way that is both liberating and difficult.

  12. No novels for me, but as you know, I love to read and write non-fiction. I think I can still relate though. So often, I want to discuss something I've read or written to a non-writer. Or,I'm constantly refering to these "written things," be they my simple writings, or something great and profound from someone else. And often, the reaction I get from the non-writer is "oh," or a blank stare.
    Can it be that I've stepped into the other world; that I get too carried away in analyzing what I've read?
    It's good that those of us in bloggyland understand each other; our need to go on and on, like I'm doing in this comment. LOL

    Congratulations on all the progress you're making with your novel!

  13. Feeling more than a little envious of your writing involvement - I've been away from it for so long that it's even hard to remember just how wrapped up in it one can get.
    Like you, I do much better with the written word. With time to consider I can write just the right thing, but in real life talking feels like hard work sometimes. Explaining, finding the right word, expressing it the right way...I'd often rather listen instead.

    I love that you have discovered your character's secret. This puts paid to the advice I've been immersed in for the last year or so, and which has been partly responsible for keeping me from fiction writing - that is, you gotta have it all planned out first. I can't do that. It sounds like you're more of a seat-of-your-pants writer - is that true?
    In any case, it's great to read you, Julie. And I am truly delighted that you're making such excellent progress.

  14. An interesting insight into a writers mind.. that's some achievement and will be worth it when you have arrived at your destination..

    You know in some ways I can relate.. seeing the world through my mind's eye .. rather just the physical.. people don't 'get it' so i'm glad to be able to have a format for expressing it..

    Have a lovely fruitful week and weekend .. ciao xxx Julie

  15. My, how I can relate to this... the way you described stepping back from your writing and entering reality--it is exactly like floating from cloud to cloud! There's a certain feeling of not being grounded in that space.

    You're making headway, though, and that's wonderful! Carry on! ;)

  16. Yep, know the feeling...rudely interupted by real life in the midst of making something beautiful happen...

  17. I very much understand, and I don't even write fiction (outside of the stuff I make up here and there in blog posts). But something emotional happens when the momentum catches; I get that.

    So she's stuck in Montana now? I hope she meets one of my two grandfathers--both ran away from home (in Minnesota!) at the age of 15, one having thrown a typewriter at his school principal, the other having fought irrevocably with his dad. The typewriter thrower became a cowboy in Wolf Point. The father fighter became a ranch hand outside of Joliet.

    Perhaps one of them met your heroine and left her worse for the wear?

  18. Great that you're so into your writing. Sounds like a great book and I can't wait to read it!

  19. For the one million times that I have been there, disoriented, unable to explain what this is, or how to return....THANK YOU. EFH

  20. I can relate to this feeling all too well.

    I'm so happy to hear you're back to the care and feeding of your writer self. So happy!

  21. Good for you. I've been having trouble getting back into my written world. Love Ray Bradbury. What an amazing human being!

  22. I feel that way on my blog but not when I write professionally (which is not fiction, mostly medical essays)...

    I am able to catch moments of my life and throw them on the blog table in a way that always surprises me.

    I just sit down, close my eyes, picture a scene from my day and it unfolds. Sometimes, I almost feel as if I am channeling....myself. It is the oddest feeling.

  23. Maybe much the same as getting lost in fantasy.daydreaming, when it is all under your control? I understand that.

  24. You write so powerfully, Julie...there's no loss of strength in the words you share, "in the real world".


Let me know what you think. Every word you write, I appreciate.


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