Monday, November 19, 2007

In The Flow

Yesterday I wrote an entire short story in one long session, eight hours, which I haven't done in years. Eight hours of living somewhere else, being somebody else, inhabiting a different emotional universe. That's genuinely what the experience feels like -- a cessation of my usual "Nancy-ness," a disappearance of self, to be replaced by Nancy-as-conduit for the manifestation of these other, temporary people. Perhaps that's what it feels like to be possessed by a demon, or to channel Eleanor Roosevelt, or to act as a medium for messages from the dead, or any other nutty thing I don't believe in. But the temporary absence of self is real, exhilarating, and exhausting. I finished limp as an empty sock.

The story, tentatively called "Elevator," is in longhand and thus requires keying in. The computer is more efficient but in some ways I prefer to do a first draft in longhand, although I can't say why. But I'm not alone. Connie Willis, for example, does all her writing in longhand and has a secretary type it in. Lacking a secretary, I will do it myself -- but that's also a chance for revision.

A good day.


bluesman miike Lindner said...

Did "the muse descend" or is that a "nutty idea" too? (I'll say it again, this board needs smileys.)

Ever get a workable idea from a dream, Nancy?

Unknown said...

Sometimes I really like writing by hand too. The problem I have is I end up losing stuff and then I get discourage from doing anything by hand, especially if something I wrote was something I really liked.
Sometimes it also depends on time. I can type a million times faster than I can write. That's especially so because I'm left handed and I hold my pencil very tightly, which puts considerable strain on the muscles in that area. So if I only have an hour to write and I have a big idea in my head, I'll do it on the computer. That way I can get as much out as possible.

But that's me!

bluesman miike Lindner said...

s.m.d., another good way is to vocally =record= your ideas if you're not near a computer. I don't have one of those little devices (still rely on my notebook!), but I'm told you can get a good one for under $50.

Important to get those brainflashes down in some way, because if you don't, they're gone. We tell ourselves, "Oh, this is so great, I'll never forget it!" Doesn't work that way, does it?

Unknown said...

I actually have one that I used when I was driving to class a lot and didn't have access to a notebook. Thankfully I'm in a position these days where I'm either on my laptop doing homework on campus, running my young writers forum, blogging, etc. or I'm in class with pen in hand and if need be I can jot something down quickly.
Before, when I had a 40 hour a week job (groan), and was going to school full time I had to have either my tiny moleskine with me or my digital recorder, else I'd lose a lot of really good moments. Hopefully one day my 40 hour a week job will be writing :P. I'd probably put that to 80 hours a week's so much fun...except editing...

And to your last bit. YES! My lord that irritated me so much. That's why I bought the darned thing in the first place. I was so sick of being in my car, driving 70 down the highway and being unable to write something down...and then I'd forget it when I got to wherever I was going--I usually didn't have much time to actually stop and write something down...

none said...

I remember fondly the days when I could write for eight hours at a stretch. Good for you!