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Fair warning: if you are committed to the spontaneous pantsing version of writing, please don’t read this. You won’t benefit, I won’t benefit. If you’re open to having assumptions challenged, read on. To the end. Don’t read the first 80% and quit or you won’t get the point.
What is a House?
Though wildly different around the world, all houses share certain characteristics. Let’s explore the ins and outs.
- Roof — Without a covering, it’s a yard, not a house.
- Floor — It may be dirt, but it’s not water or air. If your residents are standing in a pool up to their waist, or swinging in hammocks 30′ aboveground, you’ve built something other than a house.
- Privacy — Roof but no walls = carport or equivalent.
- Toilet — Yes, in some parts of the world this is not inside the house. If you live in one of those places, you may dispute this requirement.
- Services — Electricity. Running water. Drains. See above note for quibbles.
- Egress — Without a door suitable for us humans to enter through, it’s not a house, it’s something else.
- Lighting — Even if it’s windows and skylights, there’s a way for light to come in.
You may dispute any of these if you choose to live in the house yourself.
If you plan to sell the house, or even sell time using the house (called “renting”) I defy you to leave any of these out and still succeed.
Have you ever done something, or thought something, you’re ashamed of?
Uncomfortable as it is, dredge up that memory. We’ll be using it for today’s exercise.
The purpose of our experiment is to demonstrate the effect on our conscious when we try to write something our unconscious doesn’t want written.
Find a place you feel safe. Sit by the fire, if you can, or if that’s not possible, have a shredder under your desk. You’ll want access to methods of rapid complete destruction.
Are you sitting uncomfortably? Good. Let’s begin.
I made a comment at Rosanne Bane’s blog about letting go of what others thought so I could create better art.
She asked if I’d write a post on the concept.
I did, and it’s live over at Bane of Your Resistance.
I’m going for a 60s health-ed movie feel in the title, in case you missed it.
Writing without emotion is pointless. If you don’t move your readers to feel something, you accomplish nothing. Even with non-fiction, teaching a topic requires moving your readers to care enough to latch on.
With fiction, emotion is everything.
It’s no wonder, then, that we fiction writers are a moody lot.
I have days of euphoria. I also have days in the doldrums. (Like when we have the rare phenomenon of 10 gloomy days straight here in the frozen north.)
A dear friend commented this morning that they were feeling down about their writing.
Steven Pressfield posted about the pure unadulterated panic induced by the research for his latest book.
It’s gonna happen. … more … “Writers and Their Emotions”
After 7,000 miles, a good chunk of it in a single week, I am spent. (I realize all my posts lately seem to be “life lessons from Joel’s traveling and how it affects his work” and now that we’re settled, er, settling, watch for real life genuine content again soon.)
(Aw, this is real live genuine content. It applies to your art and mine. Just watch.)
I finished the text for one book. Editing is in progress, but slowly.
Sue’s business life changed significantly for the better, opening new possibilities for us. Still, it’s change. Even good stress is stress. Try having a child. Most glorious event in human life. Also on the short list of most taxing, physically and emotionally.
Am I behind on this, that, and the other thing? Yup.
Am I frustrated about it? Nope.
Marathon runners hit a wall of physical failure near the end of the race. The will may be strong, but the human body has limits, and one of them arises at about 23 miles of constant forward movement. Issues with glucose and other chemicals I don’t know the names of shut the legs off, make the arms refuse, turn the trunk to oatmeal.
I don’t know if it’s that my allergies are especially bad (curse you, California plant life!) or the broader concept of approaching the senior discount at the movie theater, but I’m tired. We have 2,152 miles to get home, and I’m tired. Today we drive from Newport Beach to Surprise, Arizona. Not a bad day for us. Six hours door to door. We’ve done 16 at times. But I’m tired. I’d stay right here except that I’m 2,152 miles from home. I keep hearing The Clash doing Should I Stay or Should I Go? except the answer is obvious.
Nearing the end. That’s one of the times Resistance is strongest. … more … “The Clash at the 23rd Mile”
There he’d been, plugging away, over 4,000 words a day, when the house he lived in was sold, with circumstances forcing his family to move out and plan for a month-long “workation” in only 5 days.
They did it, and drove south.
It was warmer than he likes in Phoenix.
He picked up a cold in Santa Barbara.
He’s generally been busy enough, disrupted enough, tired enough to stop writing for a while. Wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable, right?
One of the places Resistance shows up is at the end of a project. … more … “Resistance vs Reality vs Reasonableness”
Earlier in the week I challenged myself to write 1,000 words as fast as I could type on each of my two mysteries. No pauses, no editing, don’t even think too much. Just type like mad.
I averaged 40wpm on each of them. Less than 30 minutes each to add another 1,000 words. While I only commit to 15 minutes of writing each day, I have a target of 1,000 words per novel.
One hour to do all the writing I needed to do for the day. Not bad.
Yesterday didn’t go so well.