So there’s this thing that’s been on my mind lately. As I have blogged about recently, I’m a pretty busy guy.
It can be really hard to find time for all these things that I do. There’s this skill that I’m always refining that really helps me with these things. It’s the ability to work in discrete micro chunks.
This isn’t as helpful in my programming work as it is in my fiction, but I do use it all the time.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. So this morning I’m sitting at my desk, trying to do some writing on a new Cam and Eileen story. I’m having trouble with, trying to figure out the flow of a certain scene.
I make the decision to stop writing, get in my car and go to work. As I’m driving, and listening to a very excellent podcast where Patton Oswalt is talking about writing about his wife’s death, the crucial thing I’m missing for that story comes to me.
So I very carefully pause the podcast, and turn on the recording app in my phone. I talk it out. Let me explain what I’m doing here. I’m not writing the story word for word, but I’m exploring with the characters feel. I say the big beats of the plot, some particular phrasing that matters.
Now I feel good about my morning. What’s more, I know that when I do sit down to write this, I’ve got a plan. I know what I want the words to sound like, and what it is about the characters that I’m trying to get across to the reader. That’s really important to me, because I’m writing about characters who have erotic situations, but in the context of their entire lives.
It matters just as much that the man in the story is interested in pegging, that the woman in the story struggles with being the black sheep of her family. One fact doesn’t cancel the other out, they support and enhance one another.
Then I get to work. As I’m pulling in and looking for a spot, it occurs to me that this forward movement is enough. In the same day I get to be an author, do my day job, and put in the time to feel I’m living my authentic life.
By embracing progress, and chipping it out a little bit a time I’m getting there. That feels really good