Thursday, March 30, 2017

The End (good and bad)

So, two kinds of "the ends" this week.  The first, and the important one, I guess, is that I finished my story "Ten Thousand Coffins."  It ended up (first draft anyway) about fifteen thousand words, which is either too long to match the title, or too short for a novel.  Actually, the title ended up being a little less relevant, since the story went in a slightly different direction than I intended it to (still the same story, except I zagged when I figured I would zig).

I didn't work from an outline on this one, just a one page premise I wrote up in February.  It's much closer to "pantsing" than I typically write.*  And normally, that would be the death of my story.  I would write it for a little while, and eventually get to a part where I didn't know where it was going, and I would stop or lose interest.  To thine own self be true, and I never don't have that happen.

Except this time, because I was writing every single day, and even though I got to a couple of crossroads and dead ends, I never had the time to lose interest in it, since I was back to work the next day and the next.  Pretty cool.

But speaking of that, the day after I finished "10KC," I started a new story, and the day after that, I didn't write.  I went to my childhood home, we were hauling truckloads of garbage to the dump, we went out to eat for my sister's birthday, I worked for a couple of hours on an audiobook . . . and then I fell asleep.

After nearly sixty days in a row of habitual writing . . . I fell off the wagon.

It's over, Johnny!

And the next day, let me tell you, I felt like a bobbing turd.  It's weird that I would react so harshly, after something that should have been no big deal (I was up until four or five working on that audiobook too, so I technically had a fine excuse), but I did.  It was the second "the end."  My watch had ended.

And another remarkable thing about that (this was yesterday, I'm talking about): a lovely inner voice said, "Well, you failed.  No point in trying again."  I actually considered giving up and just focusing on other things, now that I no longer had to (yeah, HAD TO) write every day.  After all, I had set the goal of publishing five things in the month of March, and what did I manage, a paltry two?

So, I went ahead and published another short story, bringing me to three, and the day ended with me having not written, and resigned to watch television until I fell asleep (a luxury most folks don't even have to think about, I would posit).

But I thought about that story I had started just two days before, and thought, "Well, I could look at that, just to really rub it in about yesterday."  And I got out the notebook.  The work I had done on it was pathetic, really, just some half- or quarter-assed silliness, and only a few paragraphs of it.

"But silliness is kind of fun, isn't it?" I thought, and started typing.

I typed it through to the end, forcing myself to do it as penance for the day before, and wow, in two days had finished another story.  Then I watched TV until I fell asleep.

That was yesterday.  I don't know what will happen today (except that I'll get together with Big and he will make me write, the harsh taskmaster he has become), so I could start something new, pick up something old and abandoned, maybe come up with something for an upcoming contest.

It was "The End," but maybe not the end.

Rish Outfield, Ghost Writer In The Sky

*"Pantsing" being writer-talk for the people who do not plan out their work, but instead write by the seat of their, well, you know.

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