Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On How Maybe I'll Never Write Longhand Drafts Again

This is one of those blogs that might not be of interest to anyone, but it's on my mind, so I'm posting to purge, basically. 

In any case, an interesting development popped up the last few days. After bulling my way through Billy the Kid and handing it off to the first round of beta readers, then writing two consecutive novellas and several short stories all on my NEO2 Alphasmart without handwriting them first (which is a major accomplishment for me) I decided to play with an older novella. I discovered three things:

1. sometimes work is too old to recover

2. I really had a hard time typing from a handwritten rough draft

3. All I really wanted to do was sit down with my NEO2  and type a new story straight from my heart and head

What does this mean?

Most likely, nothing. I'm pretty spent, having written like a maniac for the last several months, and I probably just need some downtime to recharge my batteries for works of longer duration (READ: Only a day, because I succumb to writer's guilt pretty easily). Also, I've had the burning desire to write a bunch of short stories - have been keeping a notebook full of ideas for the past year or so - and the short story engine seems to be humming pretty strongly right now (also a rarity) so maybe it's just time to write some short stories.

But, I couldn't help noticing that I had no desire whatsoever to type the twenty-or-so pages I'd left hanging in this novella. Those handwritten pages - about a year old or so - seemed so...confining. Restrictive. And even though the story is one I'm interested in...I just didn't want to type what I'd written a year ago.

Not sure if this is meaningful or not. I have another nearly finished novella that's also composed of mostly handwritten pages. Is that also in jeopardy, because I don't feel like typing from handwritten pages anymore?

Most likely not. Part of this also comes from still being an on-spec writer. In other words, I've got no deadlines or obligations right now. Let's say, for example, that the publisher looking at two of my novellas says: "We want these both, and would like a third, too." Well, sure as shooting I'd be on top of that novella, finishing it.

But I guess right now I can enjoy the luxury (dubious as it may be, because as I've said before, I'd give up a big chunk of that luxury for a relationship with a publisher) of basically saying: "Screw it. I don't feel like writing that right now, I want to write this."

And I should enjoy that while I can. Say I sell my Billy the Kid trilogy - I'll be living with Billy the Kid for the next three years, probably exclusively. And that'll be fine, because I'm definitely ready for that stage. So for now, I'll just take the moment and enjoy my freedom, I suppose.

Also, there's a good development, here: I can now admit that converting to typing only and leaving behind pen and paper handwritten rough drafts is a good thing. In fact...I almost wonder now if the stories are BETTER this way. I can still polish the prose in subsequent drafts, but I wonder if the stories are purer now, closer to ME, because I'm just gushing straight onto the keyboard instead of meticulously writing and then rewriting and crossing out.

Who knows? I'm probably over-thinking things, like always. Anyway, it's safe to say, I think, that handwriting rough drafts is a thing of the past, and I'm just going to take the next few weeks and enjoy the freedom of writing whatever I want to...although, I still am looking forward to hopefully HAVING deadlines someday that aren't self-imposed.