I recently stumbled across this quote by E.L. Doctorow.
I liked it.
It spoke to me.
It had kind of a sharp, piercing little voice, but I guess that's what got my attention. So, I listened to what it had to say.
"You know all that really weird stuff and random nonsense that floats around in your head, banging on the walls of your cranium and giving you migraines? Just put it into words, type it up and call yourself a writer. Sure, society will still think you're a nutter-butter, but at least you'll be a socially acceptable nutter-butter."
Of course, all of the voices in my head started jumping up and down and pushing each other out of the way to shout out weird stuff and random nonsense in response.
"Man, keep it down over there! She hasn't even her first cup of coffee yet."
"EL Doctorow - who is this guy anyways? Why is he calling us weird and random?"
"Jeez. How can a quote you saw on a computer screen speak to you? It's just written words, it can't talk to you. You just read it. Quietly. To yourself. Can we get some coffee over here?"
By this point, I had started to have enough. And, I had still only had one cup of coffee.
"All of you - settle down this instant! Is it any wonder I get migraines, what with you idiots constantly yelling at each other and banging around inside my head. Just let me get another cup of coffee and I'll have a think about this quote."
I got another cup of coffee. And a cookie. Cookies and coffee really go well together.
I thought about things. I thought about writing. I thought about schizophrenia. I thought about why I like this quote.
Curious? Well, here's the deal. Over the past month, I've been feeling really schizophrenic about my writing. Not my blog writing - that's always a bit schizophrenic. Which doesn't really matter as it's just a series of disjointed posts which don't need to hang together and be coherent. I let the little voices in my head have free rein here on the blog. They're like little kids - they need to burn off energy so that they fall asleep at a decent hour.
But, when it comes to writing a novel, it's a whole different deal. You really need consistency, continuity and a general sense of harmony. Things should hang together. You shouldn't feel like a million different voices have ganged up to write the novel. Unless, of course, that's what you're going for.
Remember how I had my big NaNoWriMo fail? I was supposed to write a 50,000 word draft novel during November. Didn't happen. So, I got an extension from my mom (she hands them out by the way in case you need one).
It's January now. I'm still not done. Because things are all over the place. Those little voices inside my head have been having a field day. They've been experimenting with different styles, voices and ways of writing scenes. They've been playing around with adjectives and adverbs. They've been writing very short sentences and very long sentences. To be honest, it's a bit of a mess.
In general, it's been fun. We've got some creativity going on over here. It's all tickety-boo. Except when I worry about the lack of progress on the novel writing front due to this whole schizophrenic approach to putting words down on paper. I think I'm going to have to put the little voices in my head in the corner for a bit of a time-out so that we can wrap up this first draft during January.
I have no idea what E.L. Doctorow meant by his quote. I'm fairly certain my interpretation is far from the mark, but it got me thinking about the chaos and disorder in my writing and what's holding me back. From what the voices in my head tell me, that's what really counts.
So, now over to you. Any thoughts or tips on how to shut the wee beasties up and get some focus? Also, advice on how to wheedle yet another extension from my mom would be most appreciated too.
Linked up with the lovely folks at the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
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