Pulling it All Together: Controlled Chaos
Yesterday, I mentioned I was going to start putting together Echo of Dead Leaves material. Right? I don’t believe I mentioned I have a strange dread when stepping back into something after a prolonged absence, but I have the experience and good sense to know there is nothing to fear, ultimately. I think it goes back to being concerned with time when I had the hubris to attempt to speed read Faulkner’s The Sound & the Fury. The takeaway is don’t try to speed read drunk, stream-of-consciousness stuff. You’ll end up with bad dreams, lasting nightmares, or, in my case, an interesting fixation with time[1. The character of Quentin is particularly obsessed with it.]
So, anyway, I spent a lot of time pulling out the “key” files yesterday. I cannot speak to how other writers write or even if they write with any rhyme or reason or the right way to write or there is a degree of variance from project to project. In this particular case, there has been a lot of moving parts and I had all these separate files to make better sense of it. I have files filled with factual research notes and hyperlinks. Others with false starts and random scribblings. Others with good, structure materials as if the words were crawling out of the muck and mire of my mind and taking form. Others contradicted some of the previous files even as they built upon the corpses of the dead ideas. I got a headache and called it a day after dealing with it for several hours and feeling like I was trying to read tea leaves while drinking Jack Daniels on the wing of a bi-plane.
I got a good night’s sleep and came out swinging today. I managed to get a better handle on things. I began sorting them into a master file. I began to grind the rough bits into submission with the heel of my tennis shoe and gave warning to other sections that glared out me menacingly. I told them there due would come when it was, err, due. After indulging me in this ramble, I should give you a takeaway, but first allow me to add new words were written during all this reconstruction. Some bits I had scratched my head on earlier this year proved to be fathomable. The volume of writing I’ve been engaged in has, surprise, surprise, made me better and faster.
Here’s today’s takeaway. Practice. Practice. Practice. You think you suck? You know what sucks more than something finished that sucks? Something half-finished that sucks. Finish your work and then analyze the quality of what you’ve produced. Or then you can share it with others. If something is only half-finished, then you have committed a lame act and you can really gain no value from it. Not even the glory the people that made that TROLL 2 movie earned. People don’t even bother ripping on half-finished stuff. It’s a safety net and an easy out. Cut the safety net. Control your chaos!
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!