I just posted a quick 2500 word thing on it being the 5 year anniversary since I moved from New York to Nashville.
At a meta level this had me connect a couple interesting dots.
First, some background.
An internet friend of mine sent me a link to this video:
It’s exceptional. Watch it. I’ll wait.
Well, one of the couple things that came out of that was a personal commitment to write a page of fiction a day for Q4. So I’ve been doing exactly that. I got some little folio notebooks that fit in the 5×8 cover I made and I’ve been dutifully, if painfully writing a page of fiction each day for the last couple.
I’ve always wanted to write fiction and it really doesn’t come easily. This kind of internal narrative is easy as pie since it’s really just stream of consciousness right on to the page. Most of the things you’ll ever read from me were written in a single shot and posted with maybe a quick look for spelling mistakes. I don’t go back and think about structure at all.
In fact my writing process for these posts is exactly this:
Pack my laptop and a bunch of talismanic toys and head to the cigar lounge (before the world was on fire I’d go to Barnes & Noble. But frankly that never worked as well as this does.) I camp out at a high top table, plug in my Surface Pro, a bunch of equipment including a mouse, a usb hub, my phone, a pwnagotchi (just…don’t ask.)
THEN I go to youtube and start my writing playlist going on a loop. Here’s a link to THAT. Go check out some of those songs. They are NOT what you’d think of as “writing soundtrack” songs. I’ll frequently get to one that hits me just right, right-click it and select *loop*. Right now, for instance I’m listening to “She don’t dance no more” on repeat and have been for ABOUT 2 hours. Yes. Two hours on a continuous loop.
So a couple days ago when I pulled out my notebook to get the night’s page of fiction done I naturally reached for this playlist. I hit it, Lights came on and my brain immediately just fucking fried. It was blank. It was noise in my head and I just couldn’t fucking get anywhere near the place in my head where the fiction was going to come from. I switched back and forth between tracks and nothing. I finally shut it down and went back to the page.
Well I tried other stuff. Ambient “binaural music for studying.” Nope. Closer, but no cigar.
On a hunch I went diving into my programming soundtrack playlist, which is MUCH different. Some of the lower key ambient stuff from there ended up serving very well, then I added “rainymood.com” in another window. Yep. Golden.
The words didn’t actually flow so easily since I wasn’t just scraping the scum off the top of my consciousness, as is usually the case.
Maybe it’s obvious to everyone but me. But I find it a startling piece of information: The two types of writing come from markedly different places in my head. They’re vastly different thought processes.
One flows like water and there’s of course an argument, hell, even an argument from the aforementioned video, that says I should stick with that and really crank down on it.
But there’s another train of thought I have that leads me to think that what I should be doing is stretching myself in unknown directions.
Is it…diluting my (*hurl*) talents? Or is it learning new skills for the toolbox?
The problem of having too many hobbies hits me square between the eyes. After all it sounds cool as fuck to say “I’m a blacksmith, woodworker, mead brewer, writer, programmer…” etc. Even if I DO have to add the “Oh I SUCK at most of those. But they’re fun, so…” rider to the end of them. It serves my narcissism well but my ego poorly. People find that all very fascinating as I preen with their reactions.
But it’s a bunch of crap isn’t it. I don’t do enough of almost any of it to be any good. So it’s just lying, to myself and to other people.
So the new task is to at LEAST stop talking like that.
I’m not sure what that means. Not really. But I’ll figure it out.
In the meantime, the places my head has to go in order to get out my daily page of fiction (no, I’m not posting it here) is really fascinating. It feels as though I’ve gone from traveling in jets to walking.
There’s something vitally important in the journey itself that perhaps I’m otherwise missing.