On Wednesday, Comatose Ted started singing. It sang. It was actually a joy to read.
I've been struggling over the start of this story for over a month. It broke open alright, but since, it
has felt like a clunker. There's no reason - I even shared the opening two pages to my writer's group to tremendous support. (They laughed at my jokes! Is there a better feeling than hearing a room full of people laugh at something you intended to be funny?) But, it's clunked anyway. Uninspired. I was unmotivated.
But then Wednesday, singing!
So, what happened? What changed and meant the same old tune now sounded catchy?
1. I wrote anyway. As I said, I'd knocked out the first few pages and even liked them, but had zero resolve to continue. Didn't matter. I kept writing anyway. Kept pushing out a few more words at a time, adding to it. Now I'm on page 25. It's been weeks. Weeks! And that is not my usual pace, but, if I didn't keep writing, even slowly, my 'song' would be nothing more than a 'phrase'. (Yes, I recognize I am milking every last 'note' out of this analogy. I'll stop now.)
2. I edited. I know, some writers recommend waiting until the story is complete to go back and do an edit (and I partake in this ritual over and over too), but I like to edit as I move along. So, if I'm stuck, I'll start back a bit (anywhere from a paragraph to a scene to a chapter) and roll through it again, correcting and polishing as I go. This helps me pick up both momentum and tone. It's not always effective as sometimes I run out of energy or time before delving into anything new, but, it's still time better spent than looking at cat videos.
3. I removed anything that 'told'. The axiom is 'show, not tell'. Telling's got to go.
4. I engaged in inspiring things. Tuesday night, I went out with other amazing, story-loving people and saw a vibrant and engaging film (about other passionate, dedicated -misguided- people, I Tonya). Seeing someone else's thoughtful, intelligent work and talking about it with other thoughtful, intelligent people really primed my interest in getting down to building my own (thoughtful, intelligent) creative work.
Which of these actions turned my slush into song?
I don't know.
None of them?
All of them?
What matters is, I stuck with writing. I will stick with writing. And if you stick long enough, your writing will start paying back dividends in music, in song, in joy.