What writing feels like

I have the best ideas for posts while trapped in the car for the commute to or from work. I started thinking about how it feels to search for that idea, to drag that scene from the uncharted depths of my brain. I read somewhere once that family members of a writer shouldn’t be alarmed by the tendency of writer in their care to stare off into space for long stretches of time. Caretakers of writers are reassured that this is all part of the creative process.

I couldn’t agree more.

When I feel an idea tickling the edges of my consciousness, I find myself staring at some distant point, but I don’t see what is in front of my eyes. What I’m seeing is the image of that idea, recalled dream fragment, *name your intangible thought process here*. The best way I can describe it to someone who doesn’t think this way (and may potentially see me as somewhat impaired by my writing process) is groping through thick fog. You know something is there, you may even catch a glimpse of it, but it’s not showing up with any great clarity. Trying to find something in muddy water is another good analogy.

Or imagine being in a pitch-dark room, groping for an electrical outlet, with a lamp in your hand. You may not find that outlet, but you might bark your shins on the furniture. You may hear voices from another room or feel a breeze but have no way of finding its source. Or you find the receptacle but the lamp plug doesn’t fit. But when you find that power source and get that lamp working, wow… You can see the furniture, the paintings on the walls and, best of all, the doors and windows into other rooms. That’s when you know you’ve got something.

Pass me that lamp, willya?

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Finding a writing group

Since my favorite place to hang out and exchange ideas and advice seems to be dimming by the second, the need to find another forum or group is asserting itself in me. A new page/service I hope will contribute to this is Jon Gibbs’ FindAWritingGroup.com. In this group, Jon is hoping to link together writers and groups from around the world. Since I am searching for a new group with limited success so far, obviously I wish him all the luck in the world with this venture and I bless him for taking it on.

What do I want in a writing group? For me, to many rules and requirements is a huge turn-off. I understand there has to be some structure so everyone gets a fair share of posting and crits in, but set-in-stone regulations stop me before I ever get started. Maybe if I wasn’t working and writing was my only occupation I could devote the time and energy it takes to fulfill those requirements. But I can’t shake that nasty habit of eating, and those darn creditors insist I continue to work at a regular job. Coupled with my desire to start classes again soon and you see understand my limited time will become more scarce.

A writing group that is like a bunch of good friends is a perfect fit for me. I’m talking real friends, the kind that aren’t afraid to tell you your hair looks like crap or ‘did you really leave the house wearing that?’. At the LOL Writer’s forum, that’s what we were, but with me and one other person participating in the homeworks I’m posting every two or three weeks, with random drive-by postings from busy members, it’s not enough. I crave the interaction that comes from someone reading your excerpt, finding the typos and inconsistencies, making suggestions about how to make it better. I love reading other people’s writing and doing the same for them. I could be more in-depth in my crits, often I’m more a cheerleader than anything; maybe that structure I bridle against would help.

At any rate, the search continues. Wish me luck.

I’m done…

Old Dogs is finished. I tried to make it to 100,000 words and it resisted all my efforts so I took the hint that to force more words right now would hurt the story. So, it’s gone off the beta readers, two so far. All I’ve heard so far from my friend at work was that she hadn’t had much time, but what she’d read so far she liked. Encouraging words…

Downtown Babylon, my NaNoWriMo project for 2009, has been poking at me lately to review and expand. With a three day weekend, maybe I’ll have some time to do just that. Molly is an interesting character and I’m glad she’s been so generous with her stories.

While I’m in what could be described as a slump, since I’ve only written one little homework in weeks, it doesn’t feel bad. Instead of frustrating, it seems relaxed. Maybe finishing my first draft, ever has something to do with it. I know there’s still much work to be done on OD but to have actually finished with the first stage does feel good.

Maybe this is a taste of things to come. One can only hope.