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Monday Musings: The Patience of JOB

May 16, 2011

It’s no secret I hate my job.  It’s boring and the pay isn’t great and most of my coworkers are annoying and I have to drive to crappy downtown Detroit every day.  But the benefits are great and in this economy and in this state I’m lucky to have any job at all so I won’t complain too much about it.

It’s tough a lot of days to get out of bed and actually go to work but I usually manage to do it.  Why?  Because it’s my job and I need money.

For most people writing isn’t really a JOB because they aren’t getting paid for it.  It’s more of a hobby.  But when it comes to writing a story, sometimes you still got to drag your ass out of bed, grab your lunch pail,  and punch the time clock.

Because the thing about writing is that it isn’t all fun and games.  In the movies they make it look so easy where the guy/girl sits down at the typewriter/computer and starts furiously typing.  But the thing is that A) The actor isn’t typing real words and B) They usually use a montage or something to fast forward the boring parts.

Which is really the point I’m making in my rambling way.  Especially when you write a novel, there are bound to be parts that aren’t very interesting to write.  I wrote a whole post once about how I don’t really enjoy writing action scenes anymore.  But when the time calls for it, I punch in and do it.  Why?  Because if you ever want to finish something and then maybe get published–or just publish it on Amazon Kindle or something–that’s what you have to do.

Some people cheat and write the end or the more exciting parts first.  I can’t do that because if I did, I wouldn’t ever go back and do the rest of it.  Also that would really fuck things up if I’m writing something and decide to change part of the earlier plot, although that can happen anyway.

The point remains though that when you’re writing it’s not always going to be “fun.”  At those times, just remember to be patient with yourself and get through it.  One day, one chapter, one sentence, or even one word at a time if you have to.

Wednesday all your questions won’t be answered!  It’s an entry about how much to leave unanswered… 

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9 Comments
  1. Kendall Grey permalink

    I don’t think it’s cheating to write the end out of order. I’m lucky if I can think of an ending, so when it comes to me, I put it on paper. I’ll do that for any scene. The whole thing’s gonna get sliced and diced in revisions anyway, so why not? I guess each writer has his/her way of dealing with the process. My only question for you is, if it’s boring, why are you writing it at all?

    • Well the whole point of the post was that not every scene can be an action-packed laugh riot. Sometimes you just got to get people from Point A to Point B.

  2. I definitely hear you there. When I get to sections that aren’t fun for me to write, I fall back on the standard 1000 word a day thing. Usually I can crank that out in less than an hour. Then I spend the next three days revising and adding to that 1000 words. It’s slow as hell but I get through the tough spots.

  3. I’m kind of with Michael on this: if it’s boring to write, it may be boring to read. If a character needs to get from point A to point B, you could do it montage style (I think you did a bit of that in “Virgin Territory,” available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99!) or simply say “Now she’s at point B” and skip over the boring parts.

    Unless you mean that you don’t like writing those kinds of scenes, in which case, why do it? If you don’t like writing action scenes, write something that doesn’t have one.

    I do subscribe to the “write a certain amount per day” method, which is how I came up originally with my blog “5 Pages” (which is no more; it’s now way more fun http://www.nonsportsman.com) (Hey, I plugged your book first, right?), but it’s important (as I’ve found) to go back and edit out those parts that you wrote when you couldn’t think of what else to write.

    But especially if you’re “writing for free” as Rick Reilly would have you not do, make sure it’s something you like writing, or you won’t do it for long.

    I’m going to comment on your superhero post, too, because I read it today: I didn’t like Iron Man 2, mostly because it was Iron Man 1 all over again. I don’t mind superhero movies if they’re well-done or original, but that goes without saying. The problem now is that superhero (You have to say it as one word or you’re infringing on a trademark) movies are getting bland and generic. The last Batman movie stood out because of Heath Ledger’s performance, and was well done. Iron Man also stood out because it was fun and original-seeming (and I never liked Iron Man in the comics.)

    But the fact that there are TWO movies about non-superpowered people being superheroes shows what a rut they’re hitting. So I’m in agreement: move on for a while and come back to it.

    • Well, I don’t necessarily mean literally going from Point A to Point B so much as building the plot from Point A to Point B. Like in “Virgin Territory” how Gary takes Andrea to the doctor and the police after finding her on the beach. Not necessarily all that interesting for me to write it but it had to be done because it was too important to gloss over and not doing it at all would leave kind of a plot hole.

      As with any franchise or fad the superhero thing will end only when it stops making money. I’m not sure when that day’s going to come. Maybe I should wait with my superhero story until Hollywood’s exhausted everything and is still looking for more.

      (And I have no problem with shameless plugs. Sell, sell, sell that’s my motto!)

  4. My other point with the post was that especially when new writers start out, they think it’s going to be all fun, that they’re going to just sit down and toss the whole thing off in a couple of days. In reality, writing is a lot of work. Not just the writing but then the editing and the selling. That’s why a lot of people can’t finish what they start.

    • Amen. Here, here. . .and all that good stuff. Writing is hard work, but I guess for me, it’s all about keeping the joy. I don’t write for other people (although, I would love for my work to resinate with readers), I write for me. When I look at it like that and show up every day, the always joy comes along for the ride.

  5. I agree that sometimes it’s a pain to write–especially during revisions, LOL! On the other hand, the finished product is usually better than before.

  6. I think folks who don’t write do have pretty big misconceptions about what the process is really like. For some reason it makes me think of this movie about a brilliant author who’s mired in debt and is forced to turn in his manuscript or else he won’t get his money to pay of the loan sharks.

    So he dictates a novel to a lady over a long weekend.

    Sheesh, I wish.

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