I have this tendency to judge myself based on checklists. For instance, I finished writing my first draft, so there’s a check mark. I didn’t finish studying for a midterm tomorrow, so a big ugly X in that box.
The problem with this method of self-organisation is that when you list “wait a week before reading your first draft”, you have no fucking clue when to put the check mark in the little box. Do you do it at the beginning of the week so you can proclaim your intentions to the world and therefore feel obligated to actually keep your word; or do you do it at the end of the week to reward yourself for not peeking at your little piece of shit cooking in the oven?
And even if you decide when to check mark your list, you have to somehow summon the willpower to not look at the thing. For those of you who have never written a book before: trust me, it’s impossible.
Why, you ask?
Allow me to enlighten you as to the horribleness that is writing, post-writing.
So, you’ve written a thing. It’s 300 pages long, it’s got the main plot points in there, you think you’ve nailed the voice, and hey, it’s even got some promising sub plots. No problem! Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. So many problems. Because, you are absolutely certain that you didn’t follow through on your sub plots, and you missed a shit ton of scenes in your main plot, and your voice isn’t the same throughout, and your characters all have the same sarcastic tone. Therefore, you desperately want to get in on that action and tear it apart so that you can sleep at night without feeling like you’ve disappointed the gods of writing. Alas, you cannot because you’re pretty sure you’re negatively biased at the moment, and you’re building this all up in your head. However, it’s definitely in your head, and you wrote it, so how can you possibly be wrong? But you’re definitely wrong, so you have to wait. BUT, you also need to fucking sleep, because you’ve got midterms this week.
Do you see the problem? It’s like having an evil seesaw in your brain, with logic on one side and your overly-emotional writer alter-ego on the other side. They’re not sitting sedately on each side, either. They’re carrying long swords and batting to the death. There’s lots of blood. Logic is bleeding from the brain, because Writer is trying to cut out its thinking process; and Writer is bleeding ink from literally every orifice, because Logic has horrible aim, and is poking around for the heart. The other kids in the playground of your mind are traumatised from the gore and absolutely positive that they’ll never grow up to be writers because this is horrible. Besides which, the playground is on fire, because you’re also trying to study for midterms (there are three this week, by the way. Did I mention that?).
Tell me: have you ever tried to study and be imaginative at the same time? It’s not a good idea. To study properly, you need to be peaceful. You need to be both peaceful and loud, because you’re screaming facts at the stupid-ass crack in your wall in order to get them in the proper folders of your brain. Then, to be imaginative, you need to be chaotic, and quiet. Chaotic because you need to let go of those gates holding back your consciousness (I’m sure you know what I mean…the big walls that you build around your imagination so you can interact with people and not be thrown into an asylum for comparing the falling leaf to a custody battle between the earth and sky, where gravity is the mediator/lawyer/dude with a headache and a briefcase) in order to pick and choose which ideas sound vaguely plausible. Quiet because if you talked out loud at this point, your tongue would legit vibrate out of your mouth. Because you’re talking way too fast for anatomical reality to apply.
Therefore, studying and imagination most definitely do not mix- and I have a headache the size of the pimple on a teenage giant. Imagine the flood that would happen when that pimple bursts on the vain little giant (little is the wrong word I think…). You should be laughing, because the number of casualties from a disaster that size would be ludicrous- and all because the giant was going through puberty. That’s another thing- why do fantasies never feature new vampires ( “How long have you been 17?” “Like a month. It’s been insane; no one gave me cake on my birthday. I just got some baby’s blood. Gross much?”) or young giants (“But moooooooooooom, I want a new bike!” “I’m sorry, Timothy, but there aren’t that many mountains left in the world to make a bike out of. You’ll just have to cope with your old one.”). Personally, I’m waiting for a story about a model who becomes a vampire:
“What do you mean I don’t have a reflection? How am I supposed to style my hair?”
“So sorry mademoiselle. Please don’t suck my blood!”
Okay, I’ll stop now. But oh my gosh, you’ll be reading so many rants this week. My fingers are already itching from lack of writing. What do non-writers do with their time?