June 13th, 2005

Dance

Personal digression

The best discovery I ever made as a writer was that all writers hate to write. We love having written, but the actual process is a frustrating, painful struggle the end result of which will most likely never reach more than a handful of people. For various reasons I plug away at it and even aspire to make it my life's work, but it is still a very frustrating process, this summer especially.

For one thing, it's hot in Philadelphia right now. As in it's been above 90 and extremely humid for most of the past week. We don't have AC which means I'm often in a hot stuffy room with sticky arms resting in their own sweat while I try to make the keyboard express my ideas. Needless to say this is not conducive to quality writing. In general I'm very unsatisfied with how my writing's gone this summer. Barring two of the microfiction memes, I feel like nothing I've done has come out the way I want. I don't know if the problem is with motivation, discomfort, or just a general lack of ideas, but either way the words aren't coming.

Currently I'm trying to outline a screenplay. This as yet untitled work is an action-romance set during the boxer rebellion. I can't get started. Imagining the advice I'd give to a friend in this situation I've tried writing backwards and met with some success - I have the last act more or less outlined but the middle just won't give. It's like there's a concept and even hints of characters, but I don't feel like I know the story and that means I have no way to start. I've tried all my tricks - verbal outlining, telling the story aloud, asking myself questions about what happens, short fiction expositions - and nothing's working. While I am adamant in my belief that writer's block is a myth, it's the lack of quality that's got my stymied. I can't seem to get past the "why" of this story beyond simple pulp answers.

Maybe I should e-mail Hunter. He sent me an e-mail awhile back that I haven't replied to while I try to think of a worthy response. I think I'm off to do just that and whatever gets said gets said.