If you have never had a dog, then you are missing out on one of life’s great joys. The title ‘…Squirrel!’ is taken from the Pixar movie ‘UP‘ where Bob Peterson plays the lovable mutt Dug. A special collar allows Dug to speak. Like most dogs, Dug has the attention span of a two year old and becomes easily distracted. Right in the middle of a conversation, he may turn his head and shout, “SQUIRREL!”
I can identify with that. In fact, it’s happened so often over the past month that I’ve begun to wonder if Dug and I are not somehow related. Let me explain before…where was I? Had to get a cookie. OK, right. Distractions. The Rush Roomconsists of two parts: 1. Forum posts, 2. Video updates. Unlike my blog Distractions, I try to use this forum and the video’s to document my writing process and where I am on this little adventure. Recently though, it’s been difficult for me to separate the blog from the updates. The original intent was to use the blog to discuss the things that distracted me from writing. What I’ve found is that I’m also discussing these distractions in the Rush Room… like now. This tells me that I am spending more time on things outside of my writing, and not focusing enough on the job at hand.
Going forward I will make a conscious effort to limit the topics in the Rush Room to status updates, while trying to ignore the squirrels I see running over the fence posts. In the meantime, hopefully this will catch you up on the journey.
Queue the dramatic music…
(Announcer: Previously….on The Rush Room)
Write Right 4U (10/26/2011): My first post detailing what the journey and objectives are.
Start @ The Beginning (11/01/2011): After a week of writing, I found that the story needed to back up a bit in order to cover significant details.
Bad week for writing? Don’t beat yourself up. (11/13/2011): The week was spent editing due to revised story line.
The Write Advice (11/29/2011): Writing put on hold while I digested the mountain of advice available on the Internet.
001-Anything Can Happen (10/27/2011): My first video describing the adventure.
002-Chase Your Dream (11/5/2011): Averaging 4k words a week and using that as a benchmark.
003-You Can Write Anywhere (11/18/2011): Editing and cutting the story.
004-Just Write (12/3/2011): Distractions and a warning to new writers.
So, now that you’ve caught up on the adventure, can you think of another title that might best describe my writing process thus far? Lost perhaps? Or even better, Gilligan: Lost on Fantasy Island? There’s definitely an island theme in there somewhere, if only in the context that a writer is ultimately alone, and only the characters and their story will lead the way back to civilization.
Here’s what I’ve found through trial and error…
You CAN write a story without an outline and no clear direction, even if you know how you want your story to end. However, it’s like putting a Rubik’s Cube together. There are millions of ways to turn and twist your story before hopefully, getting to that solid solution at the end. I found this out the hard way, working without an outline for the first month, there must be five or six drafts of the first few chapters on my hard drive now. Each of them start the story in a different place, a different time or with different characters in the story. Believe it or not, this has helped me. Without failure, there can be no success. I didn’t say that…well I guess I just did, but I’m quoting a multitude of people far wiser than myself.
With failed attempts to craft a story that had a structure, I found that the process of writing came naturally. OK, granted that I am a long way from publishing anything, but the exercise of taking the story from my mind and making it readable pushed away any doubts that it could be done. Even though the beginning of the story kept changing, the one constant through it all was that I never became lost for words. The structure on the other hand was so lost that it may have been nonexistent. Stephen Covey says that you should begin with the end in mind, and that’s what I did. The ending of the story was never in doubt. How to get there though, well, that was up in the air.
Which brings us up to date. I took a break from working on the story for a few days and instead began outlining how it should flow. Right now I’m stuck halfway through the outline, which is fine in this particular case, as there is a time jump that needs to happen. My goal is to have the outline complete by the time the story hits the jump point. The average number of words per week has dropped to 2k as I’ve split my time between outlining, writing, website stuff (like this update), and all the wonderful distractions on the Internet. Right now I’m feeling the need for another Social Media Addition meeting. I hear my phone making those cute little noises in the background, which means someone on twitter mentioned my name. Hmm…squirrel!