Overthinking and Cornbread

Ingerii GoticOn Tuesday I looked over my schedule for the day and there was writing time all over the place. I had a list of things I needed to do for Niteblade, but other than that, it was writing time as far as the eye could see.

Care to guess how much I got written?

I think it was about three pages. Three. Pages.

I write fast. Well, okay, I write longhand much slower than I type, but still, three pages? Realistically that accounts for only about half an hour of my day.

What did I do with the rest? Well, I did work on that Niteblade stuff, and I also decided to make soup to have for lunch over the next week and I also… made cornbread.

I was in my room working on the first draft of Consequence when I discovered my POV character was a vegetarian. Apropos of nothing I wondered what he was going to eat for dinner (even though that dinner wasn’t going to be on the page at all anyway) and I decided he was going to have cornbread. “Mmm… cornbread,” I said to myself. “I haven’t had cornbread in ages. I should make some.” So, I kid you not, I got up from where I was writing, walked into the kitchen and made cornbread.*

How do you spell distractable?

Now, I always have to write myself into a story, and I typically end up cutting at least the first chapter or two when I revise but the cornbread thing was, to me, a huge sign that I was doin’ it wrong. You see, the reason I was so easily distracted was because I was over-thinking things like crazy. Really. It’s similar to what Robert Brewer talks about in his blog here.

In my brain it’s not really focusing too much on the first sentence, but on other important things, like POV and tense and such. My thought process on Tuesday was something like “I should do this from Carrie’s POV exclusively. No, wait. It would be better from Aaron’s POV. Yeah, because *STUFF*. Oh. Actually, maybe a 3rd person POV would be better. The problem would be I wouldn’t be anyone’s head’s but the advatanges are I could go anywhere in the town I wanted, and it would give me a way to show *STUFF*. Unless–“

You get the idea.

With so much indecision and over-thinking going on in my head is there any wonder I wasn’t connected to the story? That I found it easy to walk away? I don’t think so.

When I sat down to write today I gave myself permission, not only for the first draft to be bad, but also to be chaotic. First of all, I’m writing each and every scene that occurs to me, even ones I expect to cut later. It’s easier for me to cut stuff out than to add it in, and I never can tell what I’m going to discover in those scenes, I may just surprise myself and decide to keep them. I’m also writing from whatever POV and in whatever tense I feel like. Hopefully by the time I get to the end of this draft I’ll know what point of view and tense I want the final version to be in and I can revise everything to fit that, but really, if I didn’t give myself permission to just freaking write it, it just wasn’t going to happen.

So right now, this draft is a crazy, chaotic mess. Scenes are written in three different POVs and two different tenses. But there are words on the page and at this point, that’s all I can allow myself to worry about.

*In part I blame Jayde for my cornbread cravings.
**That picture is of Danica, I thought it was appropriate because we took it as a long exposure of her shaking her head back and forth. Which I’ve done at myself a lot lately.

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