Day 2: Pain produced gain

“I want you to understand that my basic belief about the making of stories that they pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow (and to transcribe them, of course). If you can see things this way (or at least try to), we can work together comfortably. —From On Writing, page 159.

Yesterday was painful because I did two things:

  1. Start my story, and;
  2. write with the King method instead of the Angie method.

Yesterday, the Angie method wanted to dominate. The Angie method is painful. You sit in front of the blank screen, crinkle your brow and try to think of just the perfect words to say. Once you’ve got that figured out, you painstakingly tap each perfect word onto the keyboard, checking all the way to make sure it’s still good. It’s a laborious and inefficient process for a first draft because you’re always second guessing yourself, or stopping to make things better.

The King method—as I have interpreted it—is this:

  1. You say, “What if?”
  2. And then you say, “and then what happened?”
  3. And then you write down what happened.

Much, much easier. With the King method, I’m not worrying about perfection in the first draft, I’m only concerned about getting the story out.

Yesterday morning, my first 500 words were painful because I was doing the Angie method and fighting the King method. By mid afternoon I was getting better at the King method, and by late afternoon I was comfortable with it.

Today, I just relaxed and followed the King method all the way. I got out my next 2,000 words fairly painlessly. Before I knew it, Mr. Muse showed up and he gave me:

  • a great name for the story
  • motive for two of the main character’s actions
  • a sweet backstory

I will sum up today’s writing experiencing with the two words that are scrawled up on a sticky note by my writing space: practice imperfection.

The things I learned from school today:

I can’t write in one big block. It just isn’t possible. I need physical and mental breaks to get my mind off of what’s going on. The best thing I can manage is 20 minute intervals, probably because I use the Pomodoro Technique for a lot of my deep work.

If you have digital ADHD like I do, it’s a great way to get immersed in deep work, while allowing yourself some leeway. Cue video:


2 thoughts on “Day 2: Pain produced gain

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