Netting my Words

I have been sitting here in front on my computer screen with my hands in my lap for some ten minutes, my fingers not straying near the keyboard.  The blank Word Processor screen is blinking at me in an accusing, mocking fashion. “You have nothing to write,” it jeers at me.  I tell it to shut up.  The problem is not that I have nothing to write, but rather that I have far too much to write and I am never quite sure where to start.  It’s like looking at a tank full of goldfish and trying to pick one to scoop out with the net.  Then, once you have chosen, there is the matter of chasing it down and actually getting the net around it.  My words swim around in my head in a constant and endless frenzy.  Even when I have chosen the ones I want, they are not always so easy to catch and pull out.  So have patience, dear computer.  I will get there.

I am never satisfied for very long without having a writing project to work on.  I just recently completed a book I have been working on for 5 ½ years.   That is a long commitment to a project, and I didn’t regret one minute of it.  I can remember, vagueishly, going through the process of choosing this particular book.  I had about three different ideas of projects back then, and wrote the prologues to each one.  I read them.  I reread them.  I tweaked them.  I had my mom read them.  I read them again.  Eventually, Alyraekas won out.  When I finished Alyraekas, 5 ½ years later, I thought I would take a little bit of a break.  Just a breather.  Figure out where I wanted to go next.  Detox from my long journey with my characters.  I didn’t last a week.  I’m already 4 chapters into the new book.  Interestingly enough, it is not one of the previous considerations that was vying for my attention before I started Alyraekas.  In fact, it is not a book I had even considered until the day I completed Alyraekas.  But, more on that another time.

The problem I run across with my writing projects is this: I am always thinking about them.  This, in and of itself, is not really a bad thing.  In fact, it could be considered positive.   The problem lies in the fact that I am forever writing scenes in my head throughout the day: on my brief restroom breaks, the few minute drive in my car, while I’m washing dishes, when I’m lying in bed before I go to sleep.  I write them and re-write them and they turn out perfectly.  Then, when I sit down to type out the scenes, the words swim away, off into the multitude of other words frenzying about in my head and I am left poised at a keyboard with an empty net.  I try to recapture the words, and they never quite turn out as good as they were originally.  I try not to think about the scenes.  That way, I cannot possibly mess them up like that.  But it never works.  My characters tip-toe in when I’m not looking, or else they barge in demanding an audience and we play around with words together until we’re happy.  Then, I flub up the words at the keyboard and my characters shake their heads in disgust.

In my book, Blue Skies, the people have the ability to link their minds directly to computers, so that everything they think causes a reaction.  A part of me wishes I had such a device, so that I could think my words directly onto the presumptuous Word Processor and get it, and my characters, off my back.  But then, where would be the adventure of fishing out the words with the net.  At times, it’s the frenzy, the desperate dash, that makes the final product more satisfactory.  It may not be perfect.  But then, when is even a final product actually perfect?

– S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on April 2, 2012.

2 Responses to “Netting my Words”

  1. I love the image of fishing your words out with a net. I really feel that sometimes.

  2. Thanks, Lightningdroplets. It can be a challenge, huh 🙂

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