Another Night… day 33 – forcing it never works

so i was up at 4:30 and all ready to go with a cup of pomegrenate green tea to brighten things along, and things started out well. i was able to weed-whack my way through the tangled mess of last night’s confusion and realize that i had, indeed, made things far more complicated than they needed to be. so, emboldened by the clearing of the way, our beloved scribe strode boldly forth, pencil a-sharpened, ready to relate the conversations and events leading to the end of the story, packed with intrigue and derring-do, close-matched jousts of both a physical and a mental nature, captures, escapes, directions, deceptions, enemies – or allies? – and a powerful climax that will leave both our heroes with – but i get ahead of myself.

mainly because i choked. on the writing, that is. in two hours’ time, i wrote not even 2 pages. why? because i thought i could be more clever than my characters. this is an out and out lie. i was forcing them to say things that i thought would be witty or portentuous or particularly interesting, only to have them spit the words back out at me. i tried and i tried*, but they would never abide by my obvious brilliance for long. what was wrong with them? couldn’t they see how fantastically apropos this line was, or how heart-wrenchingly poetic that phrase was?

it’s still amazing to me that i can be so blind to this happening when i’m in the middle of it. it’s almost laughable – no, it is laughable – as i sit here reflecting on it, but it’s no less true. i’m still getting better at recognizing this sooner, though. thinking about my first experience with this with “Witness” truly is laughable. and cringe-worthy. i hammered some of those characters into the molds i wanted, over and over again, until draft 5 or 8 or even 12, when i would come to see the error of my ways. a little at a time, of course, which just added to the fun.

anyway, i can at least be thankful that i’m learning. i often wondered as a youth what it would be like to write that brilliant first novel and to have it fly off the shelves with my wunderkind picture on the back. now, though**,  i can’t imagine dealing with that kind of pressure. mostly, though, i don’t think anything i could have written in those earlier years would have ever been worth reading. i tend to learn by my mistakes, and my writing is no different. i still believe that someday these learnings will come together and my work will be published, and i believe that day is getting closer all the time.

a good thought to end on.

* and then i tried again

** i’ll admit this may well be sour grapes, but i honestly think it’s probably more just my aging