I’ve got a confession to make: I haven’t written a word in several days.
I’ve got a bad habit of only writing in a linear fashion. In other words, I write chapter 1, then chapter 2, then chapter 3, and so on. I just can’t get myself to jump around, even if I have an outline, because I’ll add detail and come up with some new ideas on the fly. This means more rewriting on the back end, or worse, scrapping chapters.
As a result I tend to sit around and mull things over, maybe scribble in the notebook a bit, and generally wait until a solution hits me. The current example of this is Chimaera, the first graphic novel in the The Pack series. I have to write a monster attack scene, and it just felt flat. I needed an angle, something to spice it up and give a little more information to the reader without cluttering things up with extraneous captions or rambling dialog.
Then I brushed my teeth. I stared at myself in the mirror, thought about the scene, thought “no, that sucks,” a couple times. Then BOOM!, the scene hit me. Now I’m excited about it, and not just churning out filler to get to the next scene.
It tends to happen this way a lot for me. Maybe procrastination is just part of my process. The benefit is it saves me some rewriting, and it helps ensure my first drafts are not far off from my second or final drafts. It also means I rarely have to scrap already-written pages, which I absolutely hate having to do. Excising filler is one thing, but abandoning passages because I sabotaged myself just kills me.
The downside is it slows me down. Sure, I can bust out several pages at a stretch when I’m on, but that procrastination means less time at the keyboard and fewer of those stretches. That’s just deadly if I were doing this full time. My friends writing for a living don’t have the luxury of waiting for scenes to come to them. If they sat around with their thumbs in their asses, they’d quickly starve to death.
It’s a habit I’m going to have to break if I want to make a living at this myself.
And finishing Chimaera instead of rambling here is probably a good start, no?
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. His Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Deadliest of the Species, was just reprinted by Evileye Books.