Hello, True Believers!
Sorry I'm a day late with this week's entry. Life got busy yesterday.
Today, I wanted to talk about how I'm coping with my notebook addiction. Because it actually did lead to something of a problem with my writing. Probably a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.
Here's the deal. I'm not paid to write. I can't do what Don DeLillo does which is sit down every morning and just be a freaking genius. And even when he's not being a genius, he can grind away and make something amazing because he has the time and energy to devote to his art. Yeah, yeah, I ain't Don DeLillo by a long shot for a buttload of reasons. But you get the point.
However, I am able to stay productive by following the muse. I've always been lucky with my creative life. As long as I can remember I could make up pictures that became stories. This eventually distilled into a habit of being able to take ideas and make them into narratives. In adulthood, this all happens in stolen moments, thirty minutes in the morning, forty-five minutes at the end of the day. If I'm lucky, like today, I might be able to invest a few hours getting some stuff done.
And I have a ton of stuff. Why? Well, following the excitement means just that. The thing about writing is that the idea is the excitement. The writing of it can often be a lot of damn work. Since writing lives on either side of that joke called reality, sometimes after doing a lot of damn work all damn day, I don't want to come home and do more damn work. I may be an adult, but I'm a freaking immature adult who likes to have fun. And I don't have a Harley to tear up the road, so I need to content myself with whatever story carries the rush of relief that helps me tap into that joy that all of us need to experience on a daily basis.
Part of how I do this is to keep feeding my notebook addiction. This allows me to follow ideas, start things without finishing things and saving ideas as they come. Ideas come at random and I need to get them going or they get lost. Thing is... I have a ton of ideas. They're all worth pursuing, too. More than I could dedicate to one notebook if I am to give them the space they need.
But here's what happened. I had way too many projects to keep track of. So here's what I did. You guessed it, the solution involved a notebook. I took a good one, a real good one and I listed all the projects I'm working on, their status, what they needed, where I can go with them and then leaving space for some thoughts about each project. I cannot tell you how therapeutic this was. Seriously, I was like a Jack Russell terrier, spazzing and sniffing my way between so much creative stimulus and channels it became paralyzing. I had so many ideas and starts and I was getting nothing done.
So, when I finished this project, I found that I had, no kidding, eighteen distinct projects. Two novels, two novellas, fourteen short stories. One that I had forgotten about completely until today, it was just lost in the morass. Some are already drafted. Some are started and waiting completion of a first draft. Some just needed to get keyed in and shared with all of you (There's like four of you who read this, right?). Literary reflections on life, fictionalized memoirs of moments, steampunk, post-apocalyptic adventure, stuff for grown ups, stuff for kids, and a very cool Ivan the Destroyer adventure.
When it comes to Joe Time, I don't like organization. Mostly because my job is just one long effort of organizing mine and a few dozen other people's lives. Deep down I'm a jazzman who just wants to riff on his life. Still, a little organization can go a long way to productivity. I've buttoned up two short stories this week, one of which is worth sharing, but I need to sit on it a bit. So now I'm down to sixteen projects. I'd best get to work.
Hey, what are you working on?