Sunday, March 17, 2013

Writing through the Fog

I moved last August, and now I have a much longer commute.  This means I now *get* to drive in a wide range of weather conditions.  But, no matter whether it is foggy or clear, I still know I will end up at work in the morning and at home in the evening.
Some days are better than others...

The days when I can see all the way to the mountains are great driving days.  My commute is beautiful and easy.  However, when I'm in my car with a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel, I have to decide either to forge ahead or go back and hope the weather gods play nice later. 

In some ways, my writing process is a bit like this. 

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post on how I am a little bit pantser, plotter and quilter when I write my novel as a whole, but I think I'm also a little bit pantser, plotter and quilter when I write scenes too. 

There are some scenes I write that I know exactly how they will work before I start typing - I know the point of view, the setting, bits of the dialogue, the action and what will happen next. 

But it isn't always like that. 

There are times when I sit down to write and only have a vague understanding of where I want to be at the end of the scene (hopefully), but I have no idea what it is going to look like on the way to that point.  I start typing, and sometimes the fog clears away quickly, but sometimes it just keeps hanging on.  There are times when I write a sentence or two, then stop and hit return a few times then write a completely different paragraph or a variation of the previous. 

I figure this is just a form of writer's block.

What I find helps me is to realize that I just need to have something on the page, and not to worry too much about finding exactly the right word, mood, point of view, dialogue, etc. I can modify, edit and tweak a page of text, but I can't fix a blank page.  So, I've learned to just keep plugging away, and I am usually pleasantly surprised at how it turns out. 

Do you ever start writing a scene in the fog?  Or do you need to see all the way to the destination before you begin? 


Anonymous said...

I'm definitely in a fog most times. I generally have a starting point, but don't always have an ending point and the stuff in between is murky at best. Like you, I've found I just need to start plugging away. Staring at a blank screen eventually raises too many doubts, but if I start writing SOMETHING, even if I don't like it, I can fix it!

Now if I could just do something about the forecasted snow on my drive to work tomorrow morning! :)

patonlorraine said...

LOL! Yes, I agree, the longer the blank screen lingers, the worse it is! :)

And, I'm hoping we got our snow out of the way today and that tomorrow will be clear here. Best of luck on your drive!

Joanne Stewart said...

You must have been reading my mind, Lorraine! ;) I've been in a fog lately. I've been struggling with my WIP for months now. I'm a bit like you. In fact, your process sounds a lot like mine. When I hit writer's block (which I've done quite a lot with this one), at first, I let it be okay and take a day or two off. Sometimes I need to force myself to step away. But when it starts dragging out into days and even a week, then I have to force myself to push through. "White knuckle it" through the blinding snow. I hate it. I absolutely hate writing crap. lol But I find by doing this, it allows me to relax and I usually find my groove again. It's been a learning process.

Terrific post!

patonlorraine said...

Thanks, Joanne! :)

I know what you mean about being able to relax and getting your groove back. When I start writing again after a break, I always wonder why I didn't make myself push through and write sooner because I feel sooo much better.

You are right - it is all about learning (and honouring) your own process!

Patricia Preston said...

Bless you on your commute and stay safe!! I'm all over the place when it comes to writing. I start off with an idea, storyboard. Write some. Outline some. Write more. Change outline. Keep going. Finish. Then begin sweating through revision process.

patonlorraine said...

Aw, thank you, Pat! I can use all the help I can get some days! :)

I have visited the "change outline" step a number of times myself. ;) But any process that gets you to "the end" is a great process, right? Now, if I could only get someone to pry the m/s out of my hands after revisions... everything would be fantastic.

I'm curious about your storyboard process. I've never had much success at storyboards, which is strange because I consider myself a very visual person - so it makes me think I haven't been doing them right.