In today’s Journal
* What’s going on
* Slow news day
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
What’s going on
For better or worse, in this Journal I’ve always shared my successes and my failures in the hope that sharing those would help you navigate your own way. So the thought just dawned on me that I might at least let you know what’s going on at the moment. Not that I am currently unable to write fiction, but why I’m currently unable to write fiction.
Going into this mess, I described my conundrum as a mental fog. But that didn’t really do much to let you know what was going on. Here’s what I meant by “mental fog”:
Each day, I show up at “work” in the Hovel. Each day I follow the same routine I’ve followed for years, minus the nicotine fix from a cigar. And each day, after I’ve done the prelimiary stuff, I move over to the writing ‘puter, put my fingers on the keyboard, and see what happens.
Around 10 days ago when all this started, I couldn’t even think coherently. I couldn’t put two words together in a meaningful way. If speaking aloud, I had to pause often and think of the right word, etc. (It was a little like I’ve heard the speech symptoms of a stroke described.)
Over the past few days I’ve been speaking more coherently (mostly) though I still get flustered. But more importantly from the standpoint of a writer, I have occasional flashes of the coming story, also in a stream of cohesive thoughts. Not as good as it used to be, but better than it was a week or 10 days ago. So the situation is getting better.
The thoughts and words are coming again, if somewhat erratically. So each day I put my fingers on the keyboard and try to write them.
The only way to describe what happens next is that my fingers don’t work. The mind-fingers coordination is gone.
Usually I touch-type (without errors) at about 60 words per minute, and I approach double that when I’m in the zone and the scene is unfolding fast and furiously. Typically, after I’ve hit around 4,000 words on the day, my mind-finger coordination starts to slip and I start to make a lot of errors. That’s usually when I stop for the day.
But at the moment in my current fog, even the words, sentences, and scenes that are clear in my mind don’t translate smoothly to the page. Even in the morning, when I’m first trying to commit the story to the page.
I type a word, make an error. Backspace, correct, type a word, make an error. Et cetera. And no, I can’t just keep going like that and eventually write a 1200 word scene. The frustration’s too great, not to mention the lost direction of the narrative, the lost dialogue, etc. I’m constantly interrupting the flow of the story to go back and make corrections.
And no, I can’t just ignore the errors and maybe go back to fix them later during cycling. That’s fine when it’s a few errors per thousand words. It’s a whole different thing when it’s up around 1000 errors per thousand words.
So that’s what I mean when I say it’s a mental fog. But I’ll keep showing up every day. I’ll keep following my routine, and afterward I’ll keep moving over to the writing ‘puter, just in case. I’m looking forward to the fog clearing, at least enough that the words in my head translate through my nerve system down to my fingers and out onto the page. That, my friends, will be Hebben.
Slow news day around the Internet, or at least the corners of it that I visit.
Dean’s Kickstarter is finally over. I’m hoping now he’ll get back to writing about writing fiction. TKZ is some silly BS that makes not the slightest bit of difference to the lives of even those who participate, and the Passive Voice… well, it was all right. Nothing to write home about.
I included the first item in “Of Interest” because some of you might be on Goodreads (fair warning, and all that). I included the second item because the writer’s complaints therein were just so very precious. (Yeah, that’s sarcasm.)
Every time I stumble across a writer who can’t manage to come to grips with her personal angst I wanna stick my fingers in my ears and run in circles yelling “Lalalalala!” until it Just Stops.
You know the kind of angst I mean: “Alas, am I perfect or am I simply free of imperfections? However shall I decide?” Blah blah blah.
If you are able to write well, get over yourself and realize you have the best job in the world.
Talk with you again soon.
See “How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-extortion-scams-and-review-bombing-trolls-turned-goodreads-into-many-authors-worst-nightmare/.
See “The Heart of the Trouble” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-heart-of-the-trouble/. Pretentious twit, anyone?
The Journal…………………………………… 830 words
Writing of WCGN 5: Tentative Title (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for August……… 6933
Total fiction words for the year………… 623282
Total nonfiction words for August… 5190
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 151620
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 774902
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 13
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.