Plan of Distraction

So my intention was to create journal entries and poems… but sometimes I can’t get in the groove for either one. And yet I am still itching for self-expression. My solution to this problem is a new category. It is called “tidbits”… because I really didn’t know what else to call it. It isn’t prose exactly, but these entries won’t have the same deliberate nature of my poems. Nor will they necessarily be insights into my current feelings, like the journal entries. They are raw transcriptions from the notebook I have with me at all times.

I don’t know if I’m actually shooting myself in the foot by doing this, but at the moment it seems like a decent plan. This gives me a chance to make entries under less pressure. That is ideal, right? How ridiculous would it be for me to return to my blog, called “Coping Method”, and allow it to stress me out because I am not creating posts the way one is “supposed” to? That sounds outrageous.

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Research for Nanowrimo

It’s a grey, overcast day out there. I like it. I’m not quite in focus as to what I want to be doing today, but it is early. Hopefully today I will start to dig into the new book I’m reading. It’s a book about Zen Buddhism. I bought two yesterday. One of them is introductory and written by an American, the other is a collection of two classic Zen texts translated by a Japanese man. I figured I would try this approach because a “Western” author might help make the concepts more initially relatable while an Asian author will be able to translate according to a more in-tuned perspective. That’s the hope, anyway.

I don’t plan on becoming a Buddhist, for the record. I am interested in Zen as a philosophy, as an outlook and primarily as an element in the story that I am planning for Nanowrimo. I am setting those gears in motion, with the hope that they don’t come to screeching halt before November even gets here. It may seem early to start, but I want room to maneuver. I want the chance to explore a couple of topics that will flesh out the theme of the story.

Incidentally, if anyone reading has a recommendation for good texts related to metaphysics, I’d love to hear it. I figure Kant is one person to investigate, but I don’t know if I’m smart enough to digest his material. I’ve only ever taken two courses on philosophy: Philosophy of Religion (I did quite well) and Philosophy of Mind (I struggled with this one).

I like to look at things from many different angles, so all the thoughts in my head take their time becoming something I can put to paper with any satisfaction. I think that’s a concentration/attention issue as well. I also like to start simple with a story and then add complexities bit by bit. Last year when I did Nanowrimo I used a similar approach, but found that I hadn’t planned enough of the intricacies ahead of time. When my word flow started to freeze up from the pressure I didn’t have enough material to work with. I fizzled out very quickly after that.

I am quite obviously a planner and not pantser, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a pantser. The more power to you! I’ve heard that some pantsers are “discovery writing” when they do Nano, which is a way of figuring out the plot as you go. With that style of writing, one might write whole passages that don’t make sense down the line, because of a change in direction. The results can be a really long, intricate plan for a story more than a first draft… sort of a pre-draft draft. Still, that means they have material to continue molding, and they’ve gotten over the first hurdle towards a finished product. Whatever the style, planning, pantsing, discovery writing… the editing process is going to be important.

This is especially true of works done during Nano, as they emphasize quantity over quality. It’s not a bad concept, though I find it hard to adhere to. I suppose it’s like sculpting, in a sense. The first draft is the raw materials, roughly made into a shape. Editing is where the chisel really comes into play.

A Plan for Fall

I’m feeling conflicted but at the same time it seems my feelings are slipping away from me. Right now I am in a weird limbo. I have some sort of energy but I can’t seem to do much with it. There’s a barrier. I think this has to do with the dose of medication I took today? The higher dose of the newer prescription? It gave me a boost but something is still holding me back. It might be stress. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

I don’t want to lapse too many days but I also haven’t got a solid idea what I want to talk about. I suppose one thing I could mention is that I am leaning towards the idea of participating in Nanowrimo this November. (That’s National Novel Writing Month.) I have tried it seriously two or three times in the past and I have yet to succeed. The goal is to write 50,000 words over the course of the month. I have a hard time getting more than halfway into the month before I run out of steam. Even thinking about it right now I am filled with doubt. It might be that it is the wrong time of day to be thinking about it though, as I am getting weary in general.

Still I find that I want to try. I want to see if I can improve. I feel like trying to challenge myself this way is important, especially since I have not succeeded in the past. If I can muster the will to try again where I have failed, then I am helping to reinforce that idea in other areas of my life. I need to hone my determination and my perseverance in many ways, so I feel like starting with this way is good practice. After all, this is about storytelling. This is the thing nearest and dearest to my heart.

It won’t be easy. I have a story I would like to work on…. But it is only a very vague concept in my head thus far. Barely more than a theme, a premise and a couple of flimsy characters. Nevertheless, it is the one I have wanted to flesh out for quite some time. I want to give it attention because I think it has potential. So for the next two months I am hoping to do some research and some brainstorming and get a better idea of what I will be writing come November.

Some people have a much easier time getting words down than I do. I have to try my best not to let that bother me. I think it isn’t even so much other people’s ease that frustrates me, but rather the fact that I used to have a much easier time of it myself. When I was younger I wrote out a story using every spare bit of time I had. I would write my school notes out, and then switch to my story while I waited for the next projector slide. That I used to be able to let the words fill page after page is a point that irks me.

The conundrum is that I know overthinking things in my writing is slowing me down, but at the same time I don’t want to put thoughtless words to paper either. I am also aware that my confidence sinks far too easily when I am devoted to a project. I know I tear myself down in my head but it so damn hard to keep those thoughts out.