First off, I have to admit that after writing the Monday Miscellany post, I had a moment of doubt as I was falling asleep, that I’d glorified the writing process more than it’s worth–like it’s some grand undertaking that only the brave can withstand, and that one has to make grievous sacrifices in order to complete it.
But then the next morning, I saw a commercial for Miracle Whip that exhorted mayonnaise to “move over,” because Miracle Whip refuses to “disappear in the background” or “blend in”: “We are Miracle Whip, and we will not tone it down.”
So I felt better about myself after witnessing that bit of marketing pomposity for a condiment.
Anyway. My first Thursday 300 post is based upon the following Prompt from Writer’s Digest online:
Your family isn’t cooperating with your writing career, so you’ve decided to go on strike. Write a list of demands that must be met in order for you to return to your chores and household responsibilities. (Don’t forget to make a concession or two to speed up the negotiation process.)
Only I’m changing it a bit, since living on my own means I’d be the only one punished by my refusal to clean the bathroom or cook. Since I don’t like slovenliness or starving, it’d be rather counterproductive to go on strike from chores. And my family is actually pretty supportive of my desire to write–though I’m sure it helps that I’m self-supported and don’t beg them for money. Nor do I subject them to whining about my writer’s block or the difficulties of characterization or plotting. No strife there.
So I’m not striking from anything, and instead involving my family, I’m going to make demands of my Inner Critic, Inner Editor, and Inner Procrastinator.
Okay, I guess that really isn’t like the prompt. But it served as a springboard, which is the whole purpose of a prompt, right? Right?
Me: Okay, so since I’m getting back into writing and particularly gearing up for my sixth year of NaNoWriMo, I figure we ought to set a few ground rules. Sound good?
Inner Critic: [opens mouth to reply]
Me: [Verbally rolls over IC]: First off, and I mean you, Inner Critic, there is to be no denigrating the story during the rough draft. The important thing, as NaNoWriMo has taught us, is to get it done so you have something to work with. Next–
Inner Critic: Are you sure about that? I mean, I could save you loads of time down the line by pointing out immediately when you’ve written something stupid.
Me: The point, though, is to not stifle the creative process. And it’s difficult to see the quality of something when you’re in the midst of it, anyway. That whole forest and trees bit, you know.
IC: Well, fine, but I think you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Me: [Clears throat] Next, Inner Procrastinator, I don’t care how much you think staring at the split ends of my hair helps get the creative juices flowing; it doesn’t. Cut that out when we’re at the computer.
Inner Procrastinator: But what about when you’re really, really stuck? I mean, sure, I get that you don’t want Inner Critic mucking things up by prematurely deeming your work massive suckitude, but you know, sometimes the words just don’t come.
Me: [Glares at IP] If the words don’t come, then I write anyway.
IC: But that’s what gets you into trouble with breaking the fourth wall! And then you have all that “And then the characters looked to the author, pleading for direction” crap to cut. It wastes time.
Me: [Grits teeth] Fine, then I’ll write something else, like in my journal. Or go for a walk to think things over.
Inner Editor: Or you could read through what you’ve written and fix all the misspellings and errant commas.
Me: But there’s no point in doing that early, in case I wind up cutting the scene later. I’ll have wasted time.
IC: I’ve often thought that the quality of a work can be judged by the amount of grammatical errors it contains. If you’ve got a lot of them, you’re writing crap.
Me: For the last time, it’s a rough draft! It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not going to be perfect! I just want the raw material to work with, and all of you are stumbling blocks to getting it! [Takes deep breath and stands back.] You know what? Screw this. You’re all imaginary, anyway. I can take you down. [Grabs a handy flamethrower and proceeds to torch the IC, IP, and IE, all of whom scream in a piteous and most satisfying manner.]
Me: [Sets down flamethrower, dusts off hands, and regards the charred remains of the IC, IP, and IE.] There, now. That was cathartic.