Thursday, April 7, 2011

Losing the Rainbow Effect

Like I tell my students on the first day of class when discussing plagiarism: "The kittens and puppies have died. There are no rainbows here, folks." Which is my way of saying that while I love the idea of being able to trust them all to turn in their own work, I've learned to check because people cheat. And they cheat BIG. The first time I taught at this particular college, there were still a few stars in my eyes. That same, short 5 week semester yielded not one, but two students with papers they completely copied off the internet. Heck, one was shameless enough to leave the highlighted blue links in when he printed. Yeah.

When it comes to writing, sometimes I think the kittens and puppies are dead. When I first started writing, it was like dating this new, mysterious, hot guy. Butterflies, excitement, and a seemingly endless supply of inspiration were my constant companions. I was writing poetry, flash fiction, and brilliant blogs (no, really... well maybe not in retrospect), and while I know these are smallish things, I was churning them out literally 2-3 times every single day. No weekends off. And some of that stuff is still my favorite stuff, but it's nothing... tangible, if that makes sense. Nothing I can really hang my hat on and say "I'm a writer."

And then I got a great idea.

I was riding home from work, and back then I had a 40 minute drive, lots of time to think about the next blog or short story idea. And I saw these characters so clearly and what they were doing, well to me, it was revolutionary. I won't say more because in those 30 seconds or so I basically saw the apex of what is now my WIP. And that day, I kind of sort of started writing a novel.

And ever since then, that joy comes in much smaller spurts. There are fewer surprises and the muse is stingy. Of course I'm much busier than I was then-- working more than full time most semesters and never knowing what my schedule will be from one to the next (I work 3 part time gigs usually), but overall, I think it's just harder to be a grown up and stick to one thing. I still want to run after the shinies, but this is not getting my WIP done, is it?

I want it to be fun again. Do you find that working on longer projects takes some of the joy out of it? Being disciplined and on a schedule makes the muse more scarce?

3 comments:

  1. They say that writing a novel is like running a marathon. Not everyone is the type to run marathons.

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  2. No, but I've heard you complain about the writing once you're really into it and some days you just don't wanna. That's what I'm talking about.

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  3. I love when that happens. An idea will come and it blooms fully. It has to be fun or I can't do it.

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