Nearly a month ago, I took Mary Robinette Kowal’s Weekend Intensive short story course. Remember? I sure do. It was great. At the end of the class, she warned us that after a workshop or class like this, it’s not uncommon for writers to come up against some kind of block; for their internal editors to scream each time they put fingers to keyboard, for their minds to feel like mush, for stories to feel like breach births instead of channeling the muse. It comes, she told us, from the information we’ve just learned being processed into the brain. The info goes from being “learned” to being “known” and “actionable.”
Who hasn’t heard of this? Clarionite hopefuls are warned of it. An Odyssey-going pal fought his way through it. I’m dreading it after VP this fall (but I hope it’ll be a shorter version, seeing as how VP is one week, versus the 6 weeks of Clarion/Odyssey). But after a weekend long workshop? Really?
The first week after the class, I did think about the things I learned–quite a lot–while writing. And then, the following week, everything went “back to normal” for me (or as normal as it ever gets, here). But this week? A month later?
Heh. It’s hee-ere!
This week, every time I go to the keyboard, my brain fights to stay a step ahead of my fingers. No, it shouts, NOT like that. Don’t you remember? Skip that bit, it’s boring. A close-up here, this is IMPORTANT, don’t forget. And, for gods’ sakes, can’t you describe her emotion without using her darned eyes? I mean, really!
Part of my brain insists that I should “cease and desist” until I finish internalizing, that I should clear the path for all this tough brain-work. Of course, that’s the “lazy brain” speaking, the part that would rather sip margaritas on the beach than actually do anything. So, I’m not taking that advice. I’m pushing on, through the shouting in my head. I’m working, in small bites, on three different stories (something very odd for me), hoping to distract the Internal Editor by flopping to a different story each day. Not sure it’s working…but when they’re done, I’ll have three more stories.
It’s hard work, a tough slog through each and every word. But, I’m still writing. I’m internalizing as we speak (well, as I type and you read). And while these first drafts won’t be stellar pieces of shining prose polished to perfection (oh, how I wish!), they WILL be solid rough drafts that, with luck, will be better than what I’ve written before.
So, what’s new in your world?