“Why do people think writers are capable of anything except sitting in a room and writing, usually without benefit of being completely clothed or especially well-groomed?”
Billy Martin (formerly Poppy Z. Brite)

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

the stories pile up
Tue 2014-04-22 23:46:02 (in context)
  • 3,400 words (if poetry, lines) long

Today's writing went well. It was a productive day on all counts, so I'm pleased. Nevertheless, today's freewriting session caused me a certain amount of that mild distress that the practice, despite my defense of it, does sometimes cause.

Well, two mild distresses. But the first doesn't count. The first is the same mild distress I get from pretty much doing anything other than jumping right into the long-term project I'm sick of not having finished, Gods, why can't I get it finished, why can't I jump into it now rather than mucking about with Morning Pages and freewriting and brushing my teeth and watering the plants and taking a shower and putting clothes on, time's a-wasting, let's get on with it!

No, that distress doesn't deserve attention. For one thing, it's just another manifestation of the typical background low-level anxiety that attends any task that goes unfinished for any length of time. For another, that gung-ho "times' a wasting, let's get on with it!" urge mysteriously vanishes the moment I get to that point in my day when it's time, indeed, to get on with it.

So I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about this:

Today's freewriting blossomed out of the most recent of Gay Degani's "string of 10" prompts posted at the Flash Fiction Chronicles Facebook page. (Post should be visible even if you don't have a Facebook account to log into.) Do not ask me why, maybe it was the combination of "LEGACY" and "EAR," I don't know, what is my brain, but I found myself noodling up some epic worldbuilding involving an empire whose different dynasties were iconified by specific musical styles which informed the fashions and etiquette and mores of the court and the upper class, and then a sort of love triangle romance/coming of age story in which the three teenagers are involved across class lines, and also the philosophical idea that it's hard to be the person you really are when your society denies you the very words with which to express that, and...

And, oh crud, I appear to have come up with yet another novel. Or three. And when will I have the time to work on it? I still haven't finished rewriting the current short story in progress!

So I marked the document with the "Brainstorming" label and the "To-Do" status. If there ever comes a day when I simply have no idea what to write, I will do a search on the "To-Do" status in the Daily Idea Scrivener project, and I will be swamped in story ideas I've determined I need to revisit later.

Meanwhile, I have my assignment: finish revising "The Impact of Snowflakes" and start submitting that sucker. And while I work on that assignment, faithfully, doggedly, I exercise extreme self-restraint, and I do not go haring off after the latest intriguing story idea that turned up during recent freewriting sessions. Not the one about the musical dynasties, not the one about the Goddess in disguise as a golden carp in the aquarium at the restaurant, not the one about the hotel in the desert whose room 307B is a pivot point between the dimensions that occasionally eats its tenants, none of them.

I know that each one of these story ideas will benefit from the enforced inactivity. When I come back to them, the time they will have spent composting in the back of my head will have enriched their soil with the nutrients they'll need to blossom into the fantastic fully formed stories they want to be.

But in the meantime, it does cause me a mild distress.

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