Check-in April 29 Swimming with the Current

Here we are at the end of April already. I must apologize for my lateness in replying to comments. I am also several posts behind, starting to see the snowball coming down the hill, and am trying to breathe through the panic. I am also trying not to struggle against the current of the writing, but to swim with the current. I have no idea where it leads me, but I’m content to let it carry me right now.

This morning, I read Deniz Bevan’s post about Charles Bukowski. As sometimes happens, a paragraph hit me. It is a quotation from Bukowski, who was asked about his process:  “. . .  How do you write, create? You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough, you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks, you make a pet out of it.” Bukowski has described in a much more poetic manner exactly what I have discovered is my process. It was startling, but immensely reassuring, to read something that so closely mirrored my thoughts.

What I have learned: I realized, while I was waiting for the bug on the wall, I could describe it, talk to it, and figure out if I was going to kill or tame it. On Thursday, I downloaded Susan Bischoff’s story blueprint, and a character chart by Reb at to which Nadja Notariani recently referred.  I just remembered this morning about a character questionnaire referred to by Robin McCormick that is on I used to be such a pantser, but I feel some of these stories/characters want more organization.

I realized that my being able to write anywhere also means that I can write in tiny little pieces of time, especially while creating the story bible. I will need some blocks of time to pull things together, but I can sketch out scenes or flesh out a character in the five minutes before a meeting starts. I then return the story to a back-burner, where it continues to simmer. I hope to extend these lessons to my academic writing, because when it sits too long, I find the “how do I start again” syndrome very debilitating. I think I have a spare back burner for the academic stuff.

Well, I’m off to do some housework for the arrival of my sons.  Robin McCormack very sagely told me to have them help, which I thoroughly plan to do. I don’t think it’s very nice to leave the laundry and dishes that I’ve accumulated for them to do, though! I hope everyone has a stellar week with the arrival of May.

As always, please visit and encourage the ROW folks.

8 thoughts on “Check-in April 29 Swimming with the Current”

  1. Writing in little bits of time can really add up. Often you find you do more than if you had tried to set aside time. (Also, it keeps your mind active on the task during layoff.)

  2. small bits is good – amazing what can be done – I have applied it to my garden – half an hour a day can acheive mush – I hope the visit goes well – all the best ffor coming week and thanks for all those links

  3. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Fight it too much, and you’ll just turn a placid stream into rapids, and eventually wind up worn down just like those rocks. Sounds like you’ve done a good job identifying little snips of time where you can fit in the writing, even when that’s all you have. Good luck this week!

  4. What an awesome way to look at writing! I love the idea of working on bits and pieces and letting it brew. “when it sits too long, I find the “how do I start again” syndrome very debilitating” — That’s exactly where I’m at now 🙂 Wishing you a fabulous week.

  5. That is an awesome quote, I’m going to read the whole article in a bit. Thanks for sharing it. Writing is very much as described there, one thing that came to mind is that even when we choose to tame it there are times when we still want to smash it. Once a choice is made, staying with that choice is a key to long term success.

    By the way, Kait Nolan has a ton of great writing resources on her site, character charts, plotting tools, etc. Well worth the look if you get a few minutes.

    Have a great week, Elizabeth 🙂

  6. I’ve seen some of those before, but not the one by Robin McCormick. I’ve never been what people call a “pantser” (every time I hear that word I think of potty training, for some odd reason. Obviously I’ve been doing this too long!), but I am always on the lookout for ways to organize my thoughts and the world that my series takes place in.

    Thanks for passing those tools along and good luck with your goals this week!

  7. Thanks for the link love. I hadn’t seen the blueprint so printing it off and bookmarking it. I’m going to try and be more of a plotster with my next story and see what happens. Glad you are figuring everything out. Have a great week.

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