Writing a book is a strange affair. It is partly an attempt to psychically jam your thoughts into the skulls of other human beings using a system of lines and loops. It is partly a roller-coaster ride through your own subconscious with fears and loves and jokes purging out of you with no warning whatsoever. And it is partly typing and typing, always knowing that what you’re writing sucks.
I’ve mentioned a few times this year how I’m making an effort to avoid that last bit. Not the typing and typing, but the part where I roll my eyes while I’m typing because I feel like I’m writing crap. I’m making a concerted effort to not to pit myself against myself anymore.
The thing is, I’m also pretty sure that this aspect is kind of needed.
It’s just impossible to maintain the level of freshness and excitement that you get at the beginning of a book all the way through to the end. You go over and over and over scenes so many freaking times in your head that you trample all fertile, lush, imagery into the ground with your endless stomping.
It’s like a magician who no longer sees a woman being sawn in half or a penguin disappearing, but only sees trapdoors and wires and trick boxes with hidden compartments because they’ve been working with the equipment for so long.
Even the most exciting scenes seem like routine nothingness by the time I get around to typing them, and it all seems so dull. Imagine taking a bite of the most delicious food, only instead of registering it as food, you are so familiar with everything involved that you only register individual molecules interacting with your tongue, you only think about it as nerves being triggered and sending impulses to your brain. You don’t taste a perfectly ripe mango and feel its flesh and lick the juice off your lips, you just register “molecular compound #287” or something. Were you to produce molecular compound #287 for someone else they’d enjoy a delicious mango, but for you its just not going to happen with that vividness anymore.
That’s what large chunks of my books are like for me. I know, if I have all of my details arranged and my story flowing properly, that a scene should generate something in my readers, and maybe once and a while when things are much further developed I’m capable of taking a somewhat fresh-eyed look, but for the most part I just know that I’m shoving molecular compound #287 in your face and therefore you will taste a mango.
Which is why I think that mind-numbing typing, forced and painful and always feeling like sub-par work, is an integral part of crafting a book. It is bound to seem like crap at some point because at some point you aren’t going to feel the magic anymore, and therefore what you feel you are creating seems lesser than the grand idea you once had in your head.
I’m pretty sure at that point that it is time to stop worrying about how “good” your work seems to you and, instead, to start typing out a whole hell of a lot of words.
I feel like I may have arrived at that point.
Actually, considering the stuff that’s happening in my story right now that I consider to be “boring,” it’s almost a definite that I have arrived there.
Time to type.