Writing in the Dark Room

Becuase I've been so lucky in having plays I've written produced and 'realised', I've been getting into a bit of trouble lately.

Whereas before, when nobody was seeing the writing, I didn't give a shit what I wrote - I would leg out any kind of old crap and just enjoy the freefall magic of producing - but now I sometimes feel the weight of a potential audience on my back.

The result is that I tread more carefully in my writing, thinking things through carefully as I go, honing the sentences, the meter and even the bloody puctuation, God help us.

This is no good.

I am no longer practicing what I preach, which is the old adage, "don't get it right, get it written.'

I am dicking around when I should be lashing the product out without care for the finished article.

All of that 'polishing-shit' needs to come later.

The writer is a sculptor who must first make his own block of stone from which to carve his Art. Too many of us try to fashion our literary statue from scratch... too many of us fail.

We need a rough block of stone/wood/words which we can later toy with and make perfect. 'Toying with' is easy - it's getting that bloody block of... whatever, that is the curse.

So I'm fed up honing and dithering around - I'm going back to basics.

I'm going to try some free-writing for while - write anything for a set period (ten minutes works for me). No editing, no typo correcting, no stopping.

If you can't think of anything to write, you write about the fact that you can't think about anything to write (savvy?).

To add to the monastic churning effect I seek, I'm using a dinky little programme called 'Dark Room' which just offers you a black screen and some green text - no fancy formatting gizmos or widgets, just me and the words.

I just finished a little session before I wrote this and boy but it's liberating.

I don't have to get it right - not right now - I just have to get it writtten.

And I will... by golly I will.


R. Brady Frost said...

I struggle with this same thing. I find that I end up fighting myself way too much during the initial draft process. I've recently taken to abandoning the computer for first drafts because editing is too easy. It sounds funny, but I don't like too many scribbles when I'm writing in a notebook, bad form or something like that, so I end up writing more and getting more down without picking it to pieces in the process.
One of my strengths is definitely rewriting but for so many years I had the disillusion that my writing had to be perfect on the first go or else I wasn't a real writing. Haha, what a joke, right?

Great post! And thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment as well. I'm going to add a link to your blog on mine because I enjoy your writing so much. :D

R. Brady Frost said...

I really meant, "or else I wasn't a real writer." Sorry about the type-o. My fingers do their own thinking from time to time!

Ken Armstrong said...

Ha! I love the fact you commented again to correct that (it's something I'd do too).

It sort of proves the point we're both making in a nicely perverse (perversely nice? (damn)) way.

That link right back atcha - great work going on over there, keep it up eh??

Anonymous said...

hehe interesting that you mentioned 'Dark Room'. When I started reading this i was going to suggest the application, but I see you already have it. Congrats on your writing success. I have written a novel and a few short stories, but being the perfectionist I am, I am not sure they will ever be published.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Do you use movie scores when writing? Isham perhaps? What works best?

Unknown said...

Funny how hard it is to stay basic. Even harder to take your own advice. The dark room sounds like a good idea - whatever works is gooood. It is incredibly liberating to just churn it out and not worry about how it looks, NaNoWriMo worked for me in regards to that but I quickly fell out of the habit again. :/