Drunk Writing

I am amazed by all the stories about people who wrote, painted, or created while dunk or high. I know, this shouldn’t amaze me. I’ve read some interesting books on LSD, and the scientific studies that were done before the bathtub version was available outside the laboratory. It is all quite fascinating.

I say this as a person who has never done anything harder then a shot of whiskey.

Here I am, after drinking a bottle of “Mocha Death” from Iron House Brewery (the best beer EVER btw) and… I couldn’t write if my life depended on it.

Well… I’m writing this. I’m also expecting to do terrible things with it.

I think the idea behind a substance and creating, be it art, writing, or whatever, is simply this: when you are slightly tipsy you turn of that internal voice that is constantly whispering at you that you are going to fail, you are wrong, your writing/art/whatever is AWFUL!

The trouble I have with the whole thing is that when I wake up completely and entirely sober I am going to come back to this and read it. The spelling will be correct, but only because of those ugly little red squiggle lines under so many of my words. But the grammar? The flow? The ideas behind it.

I think I’m going to post this anyway. And to all my brethren who have a nice glass of wine while sitting down to write that long epic that has been brewing in your mind I say GO FOR IT!

Turn off the internal editor. Sit down. And write. Worry about everything else once the words are down on the paper.

I think I’m going to go do the same.

Giving yourself permission to SUCK!

Sometimes the biggest thing standing in the way of writing is our internal editor that is constantly in our head telling us that isn’t good enough, rewrite it.

But that isn’t the purpose of a first draft, or a sketch, or anything else you’re beginning. The beginning is suppose to be bad. It’s suppose to suck.

I loved this analogy by ircnetsplit
“It’s like a house. The first stage is just a bunch of boards with nothing in between them. Who the hell would want to live in a house like that? It’s a crappy house.”
“But, that’s how you build a house. You get the framework up, then you fill it out with walls, and insulation, and a roof, etc. Then you have an awesome house.”

So let go. If that last sentence sucks just ignore it and go to the next sentence. You’re going to have to edit later anyway. Right now just WRITE FAST and ignore everything else.

(My progress on NaNoWriMo: 2,000/50,000)

Writers Block

Like many writers, I’ve suffered that dreaded curse: Writers Block.

I’ve read so many books, articles, essays and websites about how to cure it. How to get inspired. How to confront the blank page…. I could probably recite them all to you.

Recently I’ve read come across a few that say there is no such thing as writers block. One went so far as to say a true writer will write, no matter what.

After contemplating, and examining my own case of it… I have to agree.

My writers block has never come because I have nothing to say. I have tons to say. Worlds and stories, lives of people just swimming around in my head wanting to be told. There has never been a day in which I did not have something I could write.

True, often the ideas are bad, or not well written, but that doesn’t mean a lot. Not everything I write will be gold.

No, what really stops me, what really keeps me from writing sometimes isn’t lack of ideas. It’s the burning question: Who Cares?

Who cares if I write this? Who will read it? Can I sell it? Is it worth all this effort if no one ever does?

I’ve considered putting one of my two published books up as free just to get a reader base. But I am mindful of the fact that if there is nothing else for them to read it won’t make any difference. So I wait, and get a little frustrated. And look at that paper and again say “who cares?”

And the answer is… I care!

Those words and stories, characters and dream that shift and turn and grow inside my head… they deserve to be told. Even if I never make a dime. Even if my children end up giving them away for free when I am dead and gone. Even if only my close friends ever read them.

They are worth telling. Worth writing. And thats worth breaking the “writers block” and getting back to work.

Random Words

One of my favorite writing exercises is the random word. Several years ago I joined a writers workshop that did Short Story in a Week. Five groups of five random words were given, and participant could use one or all of the lists in a short story exercise.

Random are great ways to generate ideas. Take this generator.
It gave me these words:
cheese
empire
attack
fairy
sky

The fairy empire is in heated battle with the cheese loving citizens of Wisconsin, and taking to the sky, ready to attack!

A silly sentence, but fun, and able to add more ideas.

Search for random word generators on google. If you have a specific genre you like then add that genre. Try it a few times to get the creative juices flowing.

Are You a Writer? Or an Excuse Maker?

An aspiring writer asked Nail Gaiman the following:

 “I’m shockingly lazy and find it hard to get motivated to sit in front of that computer and write. Help me!

 Neil Gaiman’s Response: “Why? You being lazy and unmotivated and not writing allows another writer, who does sit down and write, to get published in your place. Magazines and publishers only have so many pages, so many annual publishing spots. You’re letting someone else who wants to do the work get published. Surely that’s a good thing…?”

This, of course, offended a lot of people. How dare Gaiman tell people things like this! How dare he be so insensitive. Blunt even.

It reminded me, on the other hand, of a story I read a while back.

 A man who played the violin simply beautifully was doing an interview. Someone came up afterward and said “I always loved the violin. I wish I could play like that.”

 To which he responded: “No you don’t. If you did, then you’d be practicing every day, eight hours a day. You wouldn’t be wishing. You’d be doing.”

To be a truly great violinist you must practice. Learn. Practice some more. Memorize great amounts of music, and then recreate it as your own.

Really, writing, like any other art form, takes the same thing. Practice. Time. Patience. Tenasity. If you really want it you will do it. If not, then your just making excuses.

Neil Gaiman had it right. If you don’t write then someone else will. Someone else will be published, and they will have their dream while you are still wishing on a star for it to be handed to you.