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bear by san

March 2017

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phil ochs troubador

Maybe there's a God above, but all I've ever learned from love

is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you

Looking over outline notes on a project, and here's one that in particular caught my eye: Also, figure out something to do with that damned unicorn left over from last book.

Heh. Tah dah.

My process in lights.

***

So, a conversation tonight with netcurmudgeon led me to thinking about how crazy one can get as a writer, and being self-employed, and that feeling one can get that any moment not spent writing is simply wasted, because one has to get as much done as possible, as well and as quickly as possible, or one is wasting one's potential. Especially in this era of multitasking, there's a sort of ideal that one should be doing everything at once, equally well.

Here's the secret. It doesn't work.

I'm a closure junkie. I hate writing books, but god do I love having finished them. I love knowing I have X number of books written, and I'm working on another one, and I want to be done with it so I can put it on somebody else's desk, and...

...get started on the next one.

*squeaks and runs on treadmill*

Huh. Look at that. I'm self-employed. The only person I have to justify myself to is me (well, ignoring the day job for the time being) and whoever is handing me a deadline, and I haven't missed one yet, she said with fingers crossed. (I once reviewed an entire copyedited manuscript in 24 hours. Don't ask.)

And the thing is, there will always be another book. If I live to be six hundred and six there will always be another book. So even if I write and write as fast as I can, I will never get to the bottom of the pile of manuscript pages, and the books I write won't be as good, frankly, as if...

...as if I got it through my head that this is a perfect application of the concept of mindful labor. Of working in the now, on the task before us, and not worrying about completing the task, or the task after that. Of work as meditation, of work as completion, of work as prayer. Of work as service, and service as meditation.

This is the thing that I do, because I am doing it, and because I am doing it, I am doing it well.

And the work will always be there in the morning.

Looked at that way, okay. I may never get it finished... but it's not like I'm going to run out of purpose in life.

Comments

yeah.

We all know it. *g* it's the doing that's a bitch *g*
sing it, sister.


Not that this helps the obsessive compulsive writer-mind, except in the occasional moment of zen contemplation. Then we get back on the wheel and squeak, squeak squeak.
I'm seeing if mine can be housebroken, but yeah, god, interrupt me when I'm writing and I get as cranky as if you tried to pry my crack pipe out of my withered claws.

:-P Sad, isn't it?
Sad, isn't it?

I've seen the alternative. Boring and unshiny.



books, ferrets... I've lost track...

*smoooches Jodi*
Maybe there's a God above, but all I've ever learned from love
is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you


One of my favorite lines ever written.
Possibly the best pop song ever written. *g*
how crazy one can get as a writer, and being self-employed, and that feeling one can get that any moment not spent writing is simply wasted, because one has to get as much done as possible, as well and as quickly as possible, or one is wasting one's potential.

I think that's symptomatic of anyone who's self-employed, at least successfully self-employed--if you're not working, whatever it is, there's always a low-grade hum at the back of your brain, urging you to get going, do something, be productive, because it's all on you, there's nobody to yell at or fire if things go wrong.

Makes for some twitchy vacations.
sing it. *g*
So, do you ever feel satisfied with a book? Or a story? Or do you always look at what's finished, and say, "Yeah, but it could have been so much better..."?
One can be satisfied, and still see the flaws. And they do *all* have flaws. Except maybe "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" and "Come Lady Death." I'm not sure there's anything wrong with those two short stories.

As for the rest, "A novel is a work of fiction longer than a short story, and flawed."

I can't read my own stuff in print, though.

The thing is, if one is growing as a writer, by the time a story sees print, it's not one's best work any more. Ideally, whatever is working on now is one's best work. (Not always true, of course. SOme stories are more equal than others.)

And there are writers who get stuck on the same text for years. Which is pointless, because the secret about those old things, those old books, is that by reworking them you're crippling yourself. You don't grow without reaching for new things.

And those old stories, while they can be made better, can't be made as good as a new story could be made, because some of the stuff that works has to go in on the ground level. It can't be put in later, because a story that's once hit the page has concretized out some of its possibilities, or something.

I'm not sure exactly why it works, but that's *how* it works, at least for me.
Or do you always look at what's finished, and say, "Yeah, but it could have been so much better..."?

It's so so rare for me to think 'yes, this is the best this story could have achieved.' I'm forever growing and evolving -- so is my craft. But a story, once published, is a static moment of craft, and can't grow any more.

I htink I have, hmmm, three stories that I think did exactly what I intended and I'm satisfied: "Harvey & Fifth," "Apparent Horizon," and "Dragons."

What the Bear said about novels. I can't iamgine being satisfied, ever, with a novel-length work. Or even a novella.


Ha, I can't imagine you ever being satisfied either.

But then the trick is to look forward, not back.
Hey rocky! watch me pull a perfect novel out of my hat!

but that trick never works....

this time, for sure!
Hey rocky! watch me pull a perfect novel out of my hat!


Is that where they get pulled out of? I had always wondered.
Heh, that sounds like bull...winkle.
I saw a little list, and you are on it!! 2nd year eligibility! Go Bear!!
thank you!
Maybe there's a God above, but all I've ever learned from love
is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you


In a lot of moods, my favourite song ever. I tend to favour the John Cale version, though.

how crazy one can get as a writer, and being self-employed, and that feeling one can get that any moment not spent writing is simply wasted, because one has to get as much done as possible, as well and as quickly as possible, or one is wasting one's potential

Sing it, preach it, this is exactly what I've been wrestling with somewhere between my fore- and backbrains for the past few months. Setting my own hours is great, being able to listen to music while I work makes me work better, being self employed (2/3 of the time, 1/3 I follow someone else's schedule and that may be saving some of my sanity) has all kinds of benefits--but ye gods, I cannot do anything but the work without feeling guilty.

I don't suppose the balancing act gets any better with time (or publication! ;), does it?

Rats...
Not so much with time, but with training. I'm working on it, anyway....
I'm rather inclined to agree with your POV in this post, but even more importantly...

...just how many covers of "Hallelujah" are there, and where can I get them all? :)

(I'm betting the answer is "lots" and "iStore" :))
There's a real good kd lang one, too...