Rekindling the passion with old writing projects

June 27, 2011 in Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study

Have you ever started writing, got halfway through, or almost finished a piece of writing, but for whatever reason never saw it through to the end?  Have you then, days, weeks, months, or even years later, tried to pick it back up again to see if you can finish it off?

That’s what I’ve been trying to do the last few days.  I have no less than three ‘old’ projects that I’m trying to get back on track, with the time off being from a couple of weeks to almost a couple of years.  And you know what?  It’s really really hard.  Ridiculously hard.

What I’ve been trying to do is rekindle the passion I once had with these projects, to recapture the flame inside me that made me want to write all day, work on it all night, think about it as I’m drifting off to sleep and getting right back into it the moment I wake up.  I’ve had those moments with all three projects, but whenever I stop (due to a plethora of reasons, including laziness, procrastination, holidays, other work and unforeseen circumstances outside of my control) I find it difficult to regather that momentum again.

I ask myself why that is the case.  Do I still want to finish them off?  Of course, more than ever — in fact, now is the best time because I actually have the time to work on them.  Do I still think they are good ideas?  Yes.  Perhaps not as brilliant as I originally envisioned, but good enough.  So why, dammit?  Why?

I guess part of it might be because I fear that I’ll pick up the old project, have a look at it, and be stunned into depression over how crap it is and how much work I’ll need to do just to fix it up.  That almost always happens when I look back at my old work.  But surely I’m not alone in that, and others have gone on to put in whatever work was necessary to finish it off.

Having a zillion distractions around you certainly doesn’t help.  That’s why I am so enamoured of full-time writers who work from home, people who can just sit down at the table X number of hours a day and work on their shit rain, hail or shine and no matter how much they don’t want to do it — like a real job.  I remember Stephen King said something like that in On Writing, that you have to take your writing seriously or else no one will.

That’s it.  I’m going to give it a try and see what happens.  Work on my shit like a 9-5 job on the days where I can.  I’ll report back with the results in a couple of weeks.

Back to Writing Class…and I’m Excited!

March 3, 2011 in Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study

Kiss goodbye to not writing enough!

Following a lengthy period where I didn’t do nearly as much writing as I expected or wanted to (though I did find out that I’m about to, ahem, become a ‘published’ writer, in a ‘book’, no less), I finally returned to writing class this week.

Admittedly, I was a little frightened, a little concerned about whether I’d be able to get back into the swing of things, whether I could handle the workload, and whether I could handle even more workshopping.  This term, the final term, is where I would have to put everything I’ve learned together and produce a lengthy piece of work — with a view of getting it published.

And so I was somewhat nervous before class last night — I could tell because I was extremely thirsty.  But things got slightly easier when I saw that our lecturer was the same one that taught me last year for another subject.  I really enjoyed his teaching, even if he did like to show off a bit.  It also helped that there were a few other familiar faces in class (including a couple of brilliant writers).

As the class got underway, I relaxed a lot more.  As it turned out, the syllabus was very similar to previous subjects.  Yes, there are presentations and lots of workshops, none of which I really like, but I know they are effective in building me into a better writer.

Anyway, back to this major project.  I’m very lucky because I’m doing this term full time and don’t have to worry about work (apart from the occasional freelance article or review I sign myself up to).  Others who are working full time have to squeeze time out of somewhere, usually on the weekends — though on the flip side I guess you could say that they might be more efficient because time is so precious.

I had actually considered applying for a full time job (well, 35 hours a week, flexible) at a well-known magazine publication, but after last night’s class I think I’ll hold off for a bit.  I absolutely need to nail this major project, and I’m prepared to pour everything I have into it.

The question is, should I write a novel (or novella) or a screenplay?  Both will be based around the same idea, but they are very different formats.  Some say I should do a screenplay, because it is potentially easier.  Others say maybe a novel first, and then adapt it into a screenplay.  Our lecturer told us yesterday that screenplays is where the money is at.

However, the one thing that is making me hesitant about writing a screenplay is that my supervisor will be somethat that doesn’t exactly share the same tastes as me.  He/She did give me a good mark when I did the screenwriting class last year, but we disagreed on a lot of things.  He/She is more of an ‘arty’ filmmaker, whereas I like my stuff fast-paced, witty and sharp.  He/She does appreciate humour but does not think violence can be funny, whereas I think it can be hilarious, in a dark comedy sort of way.

So right now I am leaning towards a novel, a fictional memoir of sorts I’ve been contemplating on writing since about this time last year.  Either way, I’m excited because I know having this as a ‘subject’ will force me to get myself into writing shape and minimise the procrastination and laziness.

I need to break these bad habits I have formed while living a life of relative leisure.  I need to use the power of my mind, like Charlie Sheen.

Winning!