Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In Praise of the Butt

Yesterday, as I wrapped up a new chapter (and crossed the 100 page hurdle that means, for me, this book will be finished or I'll die trying), I cracked my knuckles in satisfaction. These past thirty or so pages, where I was trying to get over writer's block and figure out where to take my characters has been difficult to write, and reading back over them, I know I'll have to do some heavy revision to that section simply because it was difficult to write. I've taken my character in a whole new direction, so I'm going to have change some foreshadowing in the earlier chapters. And the writing's clunky--I was worried about what would happen and didn't focus so much on the beauty of language as on getting the plot on paper.

But the important thing is: the plot is on the paper, the story is there, and the story can go on, much like Rose did (and Jack didn't).

For the past few weeks, I've been having a hard time getting the words down. I tried plotting, and making character maps, and outlining, and a whole lot of other stuff I don't normally do.

Nothing works so well as my butt in my chair in front of my computer. Butt-in-chair is the perfect remedy for writer's block. Last night, I goofed off on the internet, worked on critiquing someone else's chapter, and finally I had to decide: play a video game, take a bath, read a book...or work on my book. I had no words, and told myself I didn't have the energy, it was too late.

But I tried butt-in-chair for a little bit. I brought up my ms. I stared at it. I guess I can add one more sentence at the end of this paragraph. I thought. Then I'll read a book in the tub. So I added a sentence. Then another. Then a paragraph. Then a page. Then ten.

If I ever get whiney about writing again, just remind me: put your butt in the chair and write.

PS--PJ's got a great little story about butts on her blog, too! (but with a little bit of a different angle...)


Keri Mikulski said...

Great advice.. :)

PJ Hoover said...

I wonder if the butt-in-chair makes it look big when bike riding?
But this is great advice. The words only get written when you're actually writing! Thanks :)