Writers, write. But I’m not writing a lot right now–although I’ve a book due in just weeks. However, the stories are in my head, not just one story, or two, but many. I’m reading a lot right now, too, magazines, novels, non-fiction books, essays, and thinking. I’m in that odd pre-write phase where I’m always thinking, analyzing, testing, wondering. But this is how the process goes for me: weeks of non-writing writing where I build the story in my head, where I feel the tension build in me, where I start at restless and end up explosive, and then I sit down and start pouring it all out.
Pouring sounds successful, doesn’t it? As if the words come out in a strong steady stream, but really, pouring is more like shaking. When I start a new book, or battle with a book in the first month or so of writing, I see so much in my head, too much. I have this huge screen with a movie camera rolling rolling rolling and I can’t get the words out fast enough to stay up with the camera. And then it frustrates, the rough bare words, so few and naked, versus the rich world in my head that mocks whatever I’ve managed to get on paper. Its frustrating. Its slow and tedious but once the writing starts, I keep at it, hacking as it is, and then pacing, and then hacking some more.
When strangers say ‘how do you churn out those books so fast?’ I want to kick them very hard in the shins. Or the knees. There is no churning the books out. I’m the only one that gets churned, and its my insides churning, my anxiety churning, my gut and insecurity churning. If I’m able to write four books a year its because I squeeze myself, and press and knead and beat and cajole and threaten. There’s no beautiful liquid stream of words…at least not until the very end of the book when the words do pour forth, but that’s forty eight hours of pouring compared to ten weeks of battering and beating. I think I deserve those two good days of writing after all the wrestling with words.
Words, words, words.
It’s time for me to start writing in earnest again. I’m restless and tired, pessimisstic, crabby and increasingly anxious. And no that’s not PMS, that’s PWS. Pre Writing Syndrome. And if I didn’t get PWS, I’d never write. I don’t write because I choose to. I write because I have to.