This weekend saw me make a start on my proposed novel by setting up certain sections, and searching out some background material I’ll need. This can be a fun part of writing, but also, a distracting part now that we all have access to the WWW. So when I start a project, I like to get as much of the background and research done as soon as possible. Names, places, character ideas. Plot points, outline, anything I think I’ll need to keep me on track, and not distracted.
Which is why I’m going to write this one in Scrivener, a writing software that’s a little more than the name suggests. It offers a way to keep all your research and writing in one place. And while the program itself can, at times, seem a little overblown, with maybe one or two more bells and whistles than seems necessary, I thought I’d give it a try this time around. Given I’ve had the software for quite a while now.
So late yesterday evening, in a moment of clarity, I sat down and wrote about a 1000 words for the prologue. It was a thing of beauty to let it just flow out of me. Of course, this morning, in the cold light of day, when I go to reread it later, it may turn out to be an utter load of crap … well, you get the picture.
The problem for me, as an editor, is second guessing every word, every sentence, every paragraph, and over editing everything written the day before so that, in the end, I wonder if I’ll ever finish a single chapter, let alone an entire novel. I can nitpick to the point of driving myself crazy, and have to go through a process, before writing, whereby I effective take the editor in me, and imprison her in a quiet corner of my mind (figuratively speaking). So that writer me can get on with the task in hand. Writing—undistracted by an editorial harpy screaming: you missed that typo, what are you thinking!
It’s very unhelpful having editor me and writer me arguing it out while I stare at the black screen wondering whether these two parts of me will come to blows over a simple typo, and wreck a morning’s worth (or afternoon worth) of writing. There’s a psychological trick to getting editor me to go away while writer me does her thing. And that doesn’t involve a figurative black-eye.
Ah, don’t you just love the writing life—fisticuffs at dawn by warring segments of your own psyche.
Welcome to my world for the next few months.