I really thought I was scraping bottom when I wrote a flash fiction piece while clamped onto my seat by my butt cheeks as my co-Ninja-assassin-driver swerved through dead-man curves at 60 miles per hour on our way to our writer’s meeting…which is exciting if you think about it. Once you hit bottom, there’s no other way to go than up, right?
Not unless you pry up the bottom and keep digging.
On Saturday, at our Third Ninjas Omniscient writers’ meeting, I managed to outdo myself in circus fashion once more.
Not only did I finish writing the piece while my fellow ninjas partook in our ninja feast — always held right before the readings and séances — sorry — critiques — but since I obviously hadn’t edited it, I had to convert some scenes from past tense to present tense as I read the piece.
What a noob. I figure next month, I’ll just stand naked at the front of the room and throw down some beats and while rapping free form short story. Sheesh. What the hell is wrong with me?
It’s not like I waited until the last minute. I started at the beginning of the month, right after our last meeting. It was a great story idea, an exciting concept (at least to me). I sat down and developed the idea, blocked out scenes, and started writing fairly quickly. That went well…until I “solved” the story. Once I knew exactly how the dice was going to land, the writing slowed down. I still had a few scenes left to go. But hey, no problem, I’m golden. All I have to do is fill in the blanks now. In fact — SQUIRREL!
Of course, this is the point where I got distracted by other pretties. It happens. A lot. I have been accused of having a wandering eye. (More like a lazy third eye with a cataract that can’t focus — let me read your fortune! — but that’s besides the point.)
So this is how I get myself into trouble. I get a good way into a project and think I’m golden. I’m the rabbit in fable, the jackass — jackrabbit — no, jackass sleeping behind the tree thinking she’s leagues ahead, the nap is deserved. I’m serious. This is a problem.
Because I had the file open all month and picked at it here and there, I managed to convince myself I was working on it. But I wasn’t. I was flitting from story to story, advancing multiple projects by nanosteps. True, nanosteps forward are better than sitting in the same spot, but you always run the risk of energy dissipation.
Clearly the problem is that I took too long to write it. I was writing only a few hundred words on it a day, here and there. Granted, I’m working on other things — keeping a two-and-a-half-year-old alive and healthy not being the least of these things — but I think with a project this short, I need to just finish it quickly. At least write two scenes on it a day until it’s completed. I know that goes against my whole I’m-never-going-to-not-be-interrupted-ever-again-because-I-gave-birth-and-the-baby-owns-me-so-stop-crying-about-it-and-get-used-to-writing-in-15-minute-increments-and-handle-your-business approach, but even so. The energy one has for any project is an essential element in shepherding it past the finish line. And there’s no question that my energy waned for this story once I figured it all out.
To add to this issue, I have relied all my life on the energy/excitement/danger of an impending deadline to push me to complete projects. But somewhere along the line, I realized that no deadline was so serious that missing it would result in physical pain and harm. Maybe we need to bring back the “taking it out of one’s hide” penalty, eh? That could be motivating.
The solution is simply to write faster. The solution always is to write faster.
Anyhoo, it’s a credit to my fellow ninjas that I haven’t been hog-tied and hung upside down from the tree by my two-toed ninja shoes. Truly, the Third Ninjas Omniscient are some of the most understanding, sweet, indulgent fellow writers I’ve ever met. Even so…I better get cracking on next month’s sub. I’d hate to be the only mono-toed noob at next month’s meeting. Besides, it’ll be worth the look on their faces if I were to actually turn something in early. (Ever see a surprised ninja? Yeah, me neither.)