I got the idea in the office at work yesterday. It’s usually great that way, when something comes to you from the left field because you weren’t (supposed to be) thinking about it. Left fields are great. I adore left fields (and I think Mr. di Meola would too). Plot Bunnies from the Left Field are so fresh and ready for the skinning –> their presence begets even more new content and approaches to writing –> writer feels a bit less mediocre –> more initiative in getting the thing done –> story actually gets done = better writing overall = grand time for all parties involved. As the venerable Mr. Stephen King says in that book all writers (apparently) have to read, “Grand times are something I’m always in favor of,” and ain’t that true for mortals.
So goes the falling-in-love phase. Idea cannot go wrong. Writer is completely smitten; see the flush on her face, the dampness of her palms, the glazed look in her eyes. Idea and Writer must spend every waking moment together. (Vide Augustin Erba’s post for a more detailed recounting of such an experience. Especially the part that goes, “The feeling in your gut tells you that this time will be different. There will be no heartbreak. This love will last.” ‘Tis a true story, mes amis.) Writer puts pen on paper, fingers on keys. A steady stream of words. There is nothing that can stop her.
Except for Real Life, perhaps. 1. Because the venerable Mr. Stephen King also says that “Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.” 2. Because of other more banal practicalities.
So Writer puts the pen away, takes her fingers off the keys, and goes away to tend on such practicalities. But Idea is still happily percolating in the tiny cubicles in her mind, spawning even more Mini-Ideas to make sure that Idea is beefy enough to fully transform into that enviable figure, Completed Draft. And so the pistons pump and steam is produced and Writer is even more convinced that Idea is Definitely Going Somewhere.
The practicalities of Real Life are tended to. Idea is surrounded by a fearsome army of Mini-Ideas. Definitely Going Somewhere is on the horizon, so close that all Writer needs to do is return to the laptop and reach out to touch it on the screen. The vision of Completed Draft is nigh.
Perhaps too nigh. For Writer realizes that though the vision of Completed Draft is still as attractive as ever, details even much clearer, it has become too familiar. Idea has percolated into too many cubicles and now the entire office floor is bored and has gone for coffee break. The novelty has worn off. The gaps have been filled. Idea has been blueprinted into blind submission for future Completed Draft on its way to Definitely Going Somewhere, and is now letting rip a most awesome adolescent sturm und drang against becoming what everyone is saying it ought to be. (Or as Gavin DeGraw so aptly put it, “I’m tired of looking ’round rooms wonder what I gotta do / Or who I’m supposed to be.”)
And Writer suddenly finds herself with a case of the Shoulders.
This is different from the Block, which is square and moody, a thug best softened by alcohol. The Shoulders, which comes from Plotting Too Much (see a picture of why the shoulders would be sore), can only be worsened by alcohol. Non-Writers will recognize the Shoulders, that villainy that begets itself, by its other, more revealing name – oh, say it in Latin, do – Procrastinare.
This is perhaps why I should put away the chardonnay now.