Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm A Junkie

It is currently 5am on the 1st December that I am writing this, and I have a major urge like I should be writing at this ungodly hour (which is why I suppose I'm writing this now). It presses on me like a cheap whore, and I have to resist the urge. As much as I'd love to write, I need to force myself to take a break lest I find myself burnt out.

I once heard writing described as a 'state of being'. It hasn't been until I've done NaNo that I understand how true that is. When the words have been flowing, it feels like I'm in two worlds - the world in my novel, and this world. It's like looking into an aquarium in a way, except you can make the fish play underwater soccer with a rock picked up from the bottom of the aquarium.

The ability to have complete control of a story is an incredibly seductive one. Essentially, you have the power to make the characters do anything you want them to. The novel The Night Circus was created out of the mind of an author whose characters she decided to ship off somewhere interesting because they were too boring. As a result, a living, breathing setting full of whimsy to draw you in was born. The greatest settings are those that you can see yourself becoming lost in - The Seventh Tower, The Infernal Devices and Dune to name a few.

When I write, often I will stare into space for extended periods of time. While it looks strange to observers, my mind frequently takes me into the world of the characters I sculpt. I walk with them, talk with them, and we discuss things like hopes and fears, dreams for life, even what they had for breakfast. It's my way of being able to discover what makes my characters tick, and what parts of their persona best represent them. It means that as a side-effect I write a lot slower than I should be (I struggle to hit 5000 words a day), but I feel that my settings and characters are more genuine as a result.

I know I'm not the most coherent writer when I create my initial drafts (which makes editing a nightmare most of the time), but I like to think I make up for it in my ability to be able to connect to the audience. Looking back on my own writing, often I'm in disbelief at how awful the words I put down are. And yet, at the time I don't really care, as I'm playing out a story that's wanting to be told. While I'm telling that story, it's as much a part of my life as eating, showering and doing the laundry. Currently I feel like I'm lost in a way, because there's no story that I'm trying to tell. Still, it will only be a couple of weeks before I get back into the swing of things.

Maybe it's a good thing I wasn't working in November. I feel like I might have needed to call in a couple of days 'writing'.

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