Monthly Archives: December 2012

Challenges

Life isn’t a series of tidy little silos, with everything tucked away into their respective containers. It’s a messy, interconnected web of chain reactions, constantly shifting, changing, and growing. Writing spans all of it, especially when fictional characters are involved.

It’s so easy to say, problems with writing can be solved by practice and persistence, but reading and writing won’t always work. When they don’t, your writing problem may not be a writing problem. It may be a you problem.

In other words, you’re the protag in the middle of your novel, trying to take down the antag (IE become a better writer) without having vanquished your inner demons yet. You’re stuck in Act 2, and won’t get past it until you sort out what’s holding you back.

For me, that challenge is relationships, whether romantic, platonic, or familial. I’ve always been alone, have never had that one close friend I’ve known for years, and don’t trust anyone. Consequently, most of my characters lack the human interactions that makes them truly human. I don’t intentionally leave them out, I just forget about them.

Learning from films and novels will grant a very different understanding when compared to experience. Right now, my experience pushes me toward independent, self-sufficient characters who prefer isolation and question the motives of everyone they meet. This isn’t a bad thing until every character has such a personality.

I can’t go back in time to change my childhood and give me a life-long best friend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start learning now. And who knows–maybe writing through this challenge will help me break my own social isolation.

What kind of deep-rooted challenges do you face, in writing, art, or anything else? Or have you already overcome it?

First rule of Write Club: Don’t write.

I’ve been biting my tongue and not publicly complaining about this, but you know? I think I’ve about had it. Because, simply put, Write Club is about as useful as a sack of invisible potatoes.

They both have potential to be useful — Hey! A sack of potatoes!; Hey! A club of writers! — but getting to that useful bit requires several attempts, failed starts, and Rube Goldberg-esque problem solving.

While you could throw some flour on the potatoes, allowing you to see them long enough to cook them however you wish, and use foil or spices or something to “see” the potatoes afterward… You could also just, y’know, buy normal potatoes and have a much easier time with it. Not to mention an easier time eating.

As for Write Club, here’s how a typical meeting goes:

  • I get there early. Most others arrive 5-10 minutes late (including president + officers, usually)
  • We spend the first 10 or so minutes chatting aimlessly, generally about nothing remotely related to writing.
  • Finally we get to our free write, which starts with a prompt. Usually we all put random words on the board and use someone else’s word as a prompt. Attempts to try new things have mostly failed.
  • Next, we spend about 20 minutes writing. Many people come ill-prepared for this and write on their smartphones or mostly-dead laptops.
  • After that, we read what we wrote out loud. 90% of the time, I am the only one who volunteers. Considering I’m the one with metal plates in her face, this makes perfect sense.
  • The remaining 20-30 minutes is a complete crapshoot because nobody ever brings in anything to edit (except me), and they are even less interested in helping others. Instead, they talk about the last episode of Dexter.

We’d normally be meeting tonight, but it’s finals weeks, so all club activity has ceased. Seeing as I’m on co-op right now and have no idea what the course schedule is like, I learned this from my roommate. As of now, nearly 2 hours before we’d normally meet, there has been zero notice from the president or officers that Write Club has ended for the semester.

So if I think about next semester, when I’ll be back in class for my final semester of uni… Sure, I could go to Write Club and encourage people to write more despite their insistence that they “don’t have time” (Dexter is more interesting anyways). Or I could refocus that time and energy on actually writing.

Unless Write Club suddenly starts living up to its name, I don’t think I’ll be attending.