Friday, February 25, 2011

Pure Silliness

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." - Barbara Kingsolver

As most of you know, I've been struggling with my writing for some time now, though setting a small goal of 250 - 500 words a day has helped. Even so, writing that little bit had become a chore and my story was showing it. Not a good thing since it's supposed to be just this side of romantic comedy (my own genre that I call "romance that doesn't take itself seriously"... not "laugh-out-loud" funny, but still light-hearted).

A few days ago I decided that was enough. One of the ways I always got through my NaNoWriMo books (back when I actually won NaNo regularly) was by taking silly "dares" and popping them in -- whether I thought they forwarded the plot or not. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't (and were edited out), but mostly they just kept me writing, made me think outside the box (how can I add six live chickens to a book set in the city? How can I give my alpha male hero a frilly pink girl's bedroom set?) and made it fun.

We've all heard the adage: You can't edit a blank page.

So, agonizing in my first draft as to whether something is really important, whether is forwards the plot or not, staring at the keyboard worried that what I'm writing isn't appropriate for the story, thinking about the fact I might just have to take it out again, or that it might lead the characters down a road I wasn't expecting ... That had to stop.

The past few days, I've written the silliest things I can think of. IMHO they work within the story, they're fun to write (and hopefully to read) and I just don't care if they're moving the plot forward (though so far, I think they do). I start each writing session with the thought, "What can I do that's just plain silly in this scene? Something unusual, unexpected, possibly even out of character?" And then I do that thing.

Whether or not the story ultimately gets published, whether or not I end up red-lining half of what I've written, I don't care because it's slowly bringing back the joy in writing for me. That's something that's been missing for a long, long time. And then maybe once that's accomplished, I can be more productive. But for now, I'm just happy I'm writing.


You Are a Strawberry Milkshake

You are a patient and compassionate person. You are willing to accept people as they are.

You have a natural sweetness to you that others appreciate. You have a sense of humor about everything.

You are easily delighted and inspired. You think life is pretty great.

If things don't go your way, you always believe that you will persevere.

About half right ... I do like strawberry milkshakes though (as a strong second to chocolate).


Sarita said...

I love this idea. Silliness? It sounds so refreshing and I imagine you're writing with a grin on your face. Good for you. Enjoy the process.

Sending good writing thoughts your way on this snowy Friday.

Dru said...

:::waving Hi to Sarita above me:::

Just reading the last two paragraphs I can see you're having fun with your writing again. Sometimes, we need a little silliness in our lives and you've found it for your work. I bet that story will come through now and complete.

re quiz: I'm a strawberry milkshake and it is 100% accurate. I do no like strawberry milkshake.

Angelina Rain said...

I’m glad you found what works for you. I tried writing little word counts myself but it just didn’t stick. I try to write 2000 words a day, and so far that’s been working out fine, although it makes me feel like I have no time for anything else. Then again, I’m a master at slacking off.

Maria Zannini said...

That's thinking outside the box! And you have the right idea. We don't have enough fun in our lives.

Brandy said...

Personally, I enjoy the silly parts to a story as a reader. *g* It sounds as though your are finding your way back to getting your words and thoughts on the page. WTG!
Life is so serious, we all need some fun and laughter.

My results were the same as yours. While Strawberry is not usually a choice of mine, the results were spot on.

I hope you have an excellent day!

MomJane said...

Your silly things add charm to all your writings.