Writing used to be so easy. I could plop myself down at a computer or a typewriter or even a good ol’ fashioned spiral notebook and whip out a flawless and world-changing short story in a single afternoon.
No longer. I think it’s because I’m so conscious of all the ‘rules’ now. “Too many infinitive phrases. There’s another gerund; gotta get rid of that. Don’t start a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and,’ at least not too often. How often is too often? Heaven save me, I used another adverb. I think I’ve used the word ‘look’ too many times…let me bring up the ‘find’ feature and see if I can fix that. How many ‘as’ phrases have I used on this page? Ugh; that’s four sentences in a row that begin with the word ‘she.’ Have I really used the same structure for ever sentence in this paragraph? Is that sentence too passive? Is this ‘telling,’ rather than ‘showing?’ No, no, no!! It’s wrong, all wrong!”
And round and round we go. I know first drafts aren’t fit to live. I know that. The best advice I ever got was “Get it down, then get it right,” but I laugh in that advice’s face, because it’s not happening.
I didn’t care about those rules ten years ago. I was a brash young upstart who thought your archaic grammar rules didn’t apply to my literary genius, as long as I knew how to properly wield a comma. But now I know better. Now I can’t get those endless regulations out of my head, and it interferes with my creative process. And now I sound like a hippie.
Sigh. It's all noise in my head. Endless interference, like white noise, only more distracting and not relaxing at all. So I guess it's not like white noise. More like rush hour traffic or teenage scream day at the mall.
Ah, well. Back to work...
Beckah, I hear you. Completely. It's very difficult to me not to analyze my words to exhaustion. What I do when I realize things are getting out of hand, is that I go to the earlier parts of the same work and I do some editing - this way I can tell myself the edit I just did will be the edit that'll happen when I get on this part later. Usually works.ReplyDelete
The more I read about a life of writing, the scarier it sounds. Hope things get easier.:)ReplyDelete