Diesel, darling. It burns slower and hotter. Gas goes up in a flash and hardly makes an impact.
…said one of my closest friends and fellow writer, RC Murphy, when describing how I should feed the flames of my writing prowess. I’m not exactly sure where I’m supposed to find this metaphorical accelerant and I’m definitely not sure if I should pour it all over my carefully laid plans. One thing I am sure of is that R.C. Murphy is a damn genius and there hasn’t been a single piece of advice that she’s extended to me that hasn’t made me a better writer or person in the process. That being said, I took her advice to heart this past week and the results have been utterly amazing. Not finished book amazing, but more like powering through five chapters in as many days amazing.
From the prospective of a new-ish writer and someone who has yet to finish a single novel, I can admit that it can be extremely disheartening to try and write a book, only to continue running into obstacles that prevent you from progressing, rather it be writers block or just plain ole laziness.
I have been working on my first novel, Bound, since Feb 2011 and I must say there have been times when I just wanted to close my Microsoft Word document, delete all my saved files and simply forget that I was ever foolish enough to think that I was talented enough to write my own novel. I mean, really, I legit deleted my entire manuscript, threw away all my notes and tried to forget that there was even two men in my head screaming to be heard. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done.
You see, my very first manuscript (all twenty something pages of it) was complete shit. Yeah, I can admit it. That thing was shit. And not just regular shit, but the kind of shit you have after a whole lot of Mexican food and sriracha. I had completely gone against everything I had been taught by my amazing writing group (shout out to R.C Murphy and Sandi Bischoff!) and almost destroyed an amazing tale of betrayal, love and redemption.
This is where I believe that bit about diesel and gasoline comes in.
You see, when I first began writing what would become Bound, I was going through Basic Military Training. I was sneaking to writer here and there on corners of napkins and in secret notebooks, but I wasn’t giving my boys the time and attention they need to share their story with me. In all honesty, I think my motivations to simply write a but to say I did was where I went wrong. I was, in essence, pouring gasoline on a fire and hoping it would burn forever, and what I got was a big explosion of shit.
After much internal debate, some guilt tripping and tough love from R.C Murphy and finally escaping BMT to get back to freedom, I decided to pick things up and give it another go with my boys. The right way. And what do ya know, those two little jokers got to jaw jacking like two Mean Girls at a debutante. That when the chapters just started basically writing themselves, the stories falling in line like good little duckies. I believe it was at this point that my writer’s mind figured out what worked for it (which accelerant, that it).
Long story short, we all write at our own pace and it is simply bad practice to judge you progress based on the progression of others. I made the mistake of trying to apply someone else’s methods to my own works and it blew up in my face, but thankfully I have a great circle of writers who are not afraid to tell me when something is shit or when I need to get my head out of my ass. Hopefully you all have that or will some day. In the meantime, find your accelerant, and let that bitch burn.