Archive | January, 2012

Day 1? Let’s See How it Goes

20 Jan

I scanned through some of my old bookmarks from various writing sites I’ve stumbled across. At the very least I found one link to a pretty decent article on where to begin. To my surprise, it’s not at the beginning. They emphasize writing in chunks and suggest a few ways to get past writer’s block in the arena of beginning to actually take down a piece of writing. Although I’m an outline person when it come to more ambitious writing, I found their advice pretty intriguing, and undoubtedly I’ll try to use one of their suggestions. Fluidity in writing ideas seems to be a point of contention for me, mainly because    I get a bit fixated on a certain idea and try to force the story into that idea. Sometimes this works, but 95% to 99% of the time it turns a good idea pretty flat.

In any case, this site is not so much an writing exercise than advice on writing. Not quite what I was looking for. So, I clicked my way over to reddit to scan r/writing, a reasonably good subreddit on the subject. Apart from general discussion of the writing process and some entertaining pictures, my quest was (relatively) fruitless. 

The first article I found, however, did make me think of a writing exercise my old creative writing teacher gave the class–observe a conversation and record to the best of your ability. Then, vet out the unnecessary language (the like’s, yeah’s, and uh-huh’s) to create a more literary, concise version of the conversation. Dialogue in literature, as he said, is both very little like real dialogue and very similar to real dialogue. It’s real conversation condensed. Another similar one he gave was to write a scene entirely in dialogue with one prompting phrase: “I’m leaving.” I actually found my first attempt at this exercise in an old binder, a melodramatic take on the starter. I figure I’ll give it shot again. Prepare yourself, this could be insane. GO!

“I’m leaving.”

“Oh.”

“I left the rent for this month, it’s uh, on the table.I didn’t want you to be…down and out, I guess.”

“Oh…I mean, prior warning would have been great.”

“What more prior warning did you need?”

“You know what I mean, come on. It’s not it’s been awful.”

“Not for you, maybe.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing–I”

“It’s not like it’s been any easier over here. I’m trying, okay, come on. And you never-you never ask!”

“Fair enough.”

“…I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Really.”

“No, I mean…I’m sorry.”

And time’s up. I just gave myself a productivity high five. Success! In Procrastination I stand triumphant. 

The Product of Far Too Much Time (or Laziness)

20 Jan

I’m not much of an exhibitionist in terms of writing.

That, actually, is a lie. I am a damn show off. I suppose what I mean to say is I’m not much of one if I’m cognizant of its awfulness. This entire blog will be a testament to it. To bad writers everywhere, I tip my hat. This is my tribute to them, and a tribute to myself as an amateur writer—by definition a bad writer.

Amateur doesn’t always automatically translate into bad (well, perhaps it does), but being one means you’re one forever, which is the wonderful part of being in such a group. You’re never good, but you show “potential.” There’s no cap on your abilities. Not yet. I think that’s what terrifies me the most about mastery, other than the realization that you’re just not good. I haven’t been faced with that realization, so my guess is I’m in the “potentially good” pile.

So yes, writing in this blog could be the masturbatory exercise of an amateur, but the main goal is to get better. Unfortunately for the reader, there’s a lot more pretentious college student wordiness ahead.

– – –

I started this post before class in the anticipation of having more time to procrastinate. This unfortunately didn’t occur as I’m trying to be more productive. Meaning, of course, that I have to actually get up and do things.

This blog kind of constitutes as “doing things,” but I’ve discovered that I’m far more likely to actually write in it if I think of it as procrastination. Though the fact that this whole mission is a means of becoming a better writer circles it back to productivity. So, I decided today that I should set forth some kind of mission statement for this perfect form of procrastination to further ease it into the area of productivity.

I’ll attempt to do some sort of writing experiment everyday—either ones I find on the internet, in my old creative writing journals, or in the current creative writing class that I’m taking this semester. Sidetracking is inevitable, so there’ll be some of that too. Like, for example, my comments on how I like to pretend I’m in a novel/that I have some random, generally useless talent (like…breakdancing. Think about that for a moment. How awesome would it be to just casually drop into a conversation, “oh, yeah, I’m a breakdance master.” Assuming that’s what you’d call yourself if you were in fact a master of the breakdance)/Sherlock Holmes. There you go, internet. Some specificity for you. Enjoy that. Eat that up.

This isn’t going to go well, is it?