I thought it would be funny as hell if for this week’s post I put up that picture of an iceberg, write the single sentence, “I’ve been experimenting with the short form these days,” and leave it up to you guys to make up the rest of the post. But alas, conscience doth make cowards of us all.
Fortunately, the girls in my basement rescued me with a new theme for this week’s post. Everyone’s talking about planning, and I have nothing against planning. I love planning, and have been creating grandiose schemes almost from the moment I grasped the concept of grandiose schemes. But planning is only the tip of the iceberg.
I think it’s important. It puts your creative troops (Girls in the Basement, Bats in the Attic, whoever you work with in your brain) on notice that this is the way you want to go.
I don’t know about you, but I find my Girls eager to please for the most part. But the strangest thing is that even though they live in the same brain that I do . . . they are not psychic! They often fill the letter of the request, but sometimes miss completely the essential nuance. And I’m sure they have a lot of complaints about me – nonverbal grunting with lots of obscene hand gestures indicating that I simply can’t be pleased.
Case in point: recently I asked to remember my dreams. And my Girls kindly woke me up before my alarm went off to remember . . . some dreams that weren’t very helpful for solving my plot problems. I should have written them down; I would have at least gotten a longer blog post from them. But the dreams were basically about some decisions I’d made in my day job. Very much, “Yeah, boss, right boss. You are on the right track, boss.” It’s almost as though they don’t trust me . . . . “Leave us alone, boss. We’ll send something up when we’re good and ready.”
So while I say that planning puts the creative troops on notice, I find I have to be really careful about what I’m ordering them to do. If I ask for too much, they seem to go into depressive shock. If I ask for too little, they feel like I don’t take them seriously, or something. And if I bore them? Oh man. Sit-down strike.
I think I need a new sort of planning. Every time I sit down and say, “OK, I’m going to write 500 words!” I can feel eyes rolling in the back of my brain, so hard they make little glass-marble noises on the Basement floor.
Perhaps, I need to order less, and follow more. They know what I want (I keep asking for the same damn thing every time). Maybe it’s time for me to learn more about what they want.
I think I’m going to try and phrase my targets in a new way. Maybe I’ll try time at the computer (although this hasn’t worked very well for me). Maybe I’ll ask them, “So, what exactly happens in this scene? What’s new and fun?” I’ll try that, and I’ll try adding some “please” and “thank-you” to my writing sessions, too. They really are charming Girls and come up with some awfully fun things to occupy my time. Underneath the surface, there’s a whole lot of iceberg there to explore in order to support the tiny bit that we see up on top. Thank you, Girls! Now, back to my WIP.