Since I last notched up a Write Night post, two things to report: one major, and the other minor and good.
1. MAJOR: The Write Nights, as originally envisaged, are no more.
That’s not to say the writing is no more, just that the one-evening-a-week schedule for #shutupandwrite sessions with a local buddy are no more.
The problem, right from the start, was a basic mismatch in expectation and will. I was dead keen on the format and was ready to get into it each time we met. She had just finished a full day’s teaching and wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the writing that she’d bring along to do. Thusly, she was much more interested in chatting than writing.
I’m a big fan of chatting, as anyone who has met me for coffee will know, but when I get geared up for a Write Night, that’s what I want it to be: a night devoted to writing. Not one where I feel I have to push a buddy into doing what she’d prefer not to, or watch the clock during ‘breaks’ because I know that she’ll find any excuse to not start up the next session.
Deciding that being up front was the best way to go, I wrote to her and suggested that we transform our get-togethers into catch-up chats over afternoon tea. She responded that she was very grateful for the suggestion as she wasn’t sure how to say (diplomatically) that she didn’t really want to do the Write Nights anymore.
So, no more Write Nights with a buddy. I just have them at home, and a consistent amount usually gets done.
2. MINOR but good: The guest-post I wrote for Rellypops about Learning to Read Properly was published the day before ANZAC Day. Many thanks, Narelle, for the opportunity to blog with you!
My productivity will be glad to hear that we’ve finished watching all of Firefly (including the movie-length Serenity), The Walking Dead and Sherlock.
While I’m generally happy about what I’m writing, I do have some issues because I:
- Appear to be enamoured of backstory. As a reader, I’m not a huge fan of backstory. (What the heck, self?)
- Want to reverse-engineer some incidental characters I’d sprinkled into earlier scenes as players with more weight and narrative consequence (though not necessarily more page-space). This is the tinkering that I feel I’m always being warned against.
- Keep tinkering rather than writing.
- Am scared of writing the ‘big’ scenes. Because they might not be good enough. So, not-writing them helps how? (welcome to my interior conversation – BYO popcorn)
The largest problem with the whole project right now is that it is something I very easily shunt aside when other things are on, or a shiny distraction comes along. One of the shiny distracting things that led me astray recently was, ironically, putting the work that I had done into Scrivener (which had been recommended to me by several buddies). I haven’t touched it since.
I’m too used to treating the work as ‘hobby writing’, but ‘hobby’ in a dismissable way. I need to re-establish more of a routine; I’ve left writing nights loose during the week rather than setting particular evenings aside. Let’s assume Write Night 5 will be an accountability post!
I wonder if writing with someone over a period of time is sustainable. I haven’t had much luck with it. It has either become a social thing, where too much time gets eaten up with talking, or there is a lack of consistency from people.
I think the aims of your buddy and you have to be in alignment, and it helps if it’s someone you see enough at other times. It doesn’t work very well if you don’t otherwise see this other person and the focus for the session gets muddied by wanting to catch up. That was our problem, mostly. I think, if we were still working in the same uni, we wouldn’t have had so much trouble with the urge to catch up. Having a cluster of 3-4 ppl would be ideal because it gives lee-way for people to skip one every now and then (but the group still has enough momentum to make it worthwhile). Much like an ‘exercise buddy’, I find it too easy to let it slide if I’m accountable to no-one for what I’ve done the week before!
I know the fear of writing the big parts. I so know the way in which I can find distractions. I too am learning how to say no to buddies who may be looking for different things during a shared time. I can relate to everything you have written. Thank you.
…. now… back to my writing 🙂
Thanks, Mayu, even though I’m sorry to hear that you’re beset by the same issues at the moment! I can see myself starting to write more portentously whenever I get to a ‘big’ section. It’s embarrassing; like putting on a (pretentious) voice. But I know I need to work through those sections, even though they may be shockingly cringe-worthy in first draft. There has to _be_ a first draft!