Faking My Way to a Story
I want to talk about faking it. NO! Not that kind of faking it! I want to talk about the writing kind of faking it. I’m pretty sure every writer does it. I’ll admit I do a good bit of it. I’m faking it now, can you tell? Okay, I’ve never kept it a secret that I’m a neurotic’s neurotic, so since I’ve been struggling for the past two days to get the last episode of The Psychology of Dreams written and failing miserably, (oh the post is almost all written, but it’s the final episode and I feel it needs more work, more time) I decided to fake it. By the time the decision was made, it was obvious to me that I wasn’t going to get it finished for tomorrow, my brain was tired, my back hurt, I was suffering from eyestrain, and I was hungry. I quick-like-a-bunny made more coffee for courage, then I scrolled through all my old posts for inspiration. That usually helps. Not this time, though. I scrolled back through for something I could rewrite. Nothing worked! And then, as if the Writing Goddess herself had smiled down on me, I came across notes from a post I did for the Brit Babes Blog some time ago and it fit the occasion down to the ground. Yes! This situation definitely called for faking it.
Faking it, at least for me, always calls for an obscene amount of brainstorming and effort before I do something right off the wall and run with it in desperation. In this case, I thought about another garden porn post. I thought about another walking post. I gave some serious though to another BDSM at the gym post, especially after a hard kettle bell workout today. Nope! Nothing! Nada! Quick and dirty, that’s what it’s all about, I told myself. Pull it off, I told myself, buck it up! I told myself, you can do it! You’ve done it before. You have a history of doing it, so just do it again! Instead I shambled into the kitchen and made still more coffee, ignoring the ironing that I could do. Ironing sometimes inspires me, but it’s not a happy sort of inspiration … By this time I was twitching from too much caffeine, even as I gulped just one more cup of the good stuff while scrolling through more old posts and fragments. I checked Facebook and Twitter and my email. I checked them again and waited for something profound to flash before my eyes. Oh there were the usual videos of cute cats and piccies of what FB friends who are less culinarily challenged than I am have whipped up for lunch — no help there. I already shared the only two recipes I know on my blog a long time ago.
I switched from coffee to iced tea … more iced tea. Less caffeine, I told myself. I did a few stretches. I put another load of laundry in to wash. I scrolled some more. I went outside and fed the birds, then scrolled some more.
It hit me after I’d retitled my post four times and deleted multiple first paragraphs, that, more often that not, this is the real path to writing something amazing. A gazillion non-inspiring little things happen, distractions ebb and flow, multiple false starts happen and happen again. Everything feels jerky and restless, like it’s all disconnected and belongs to someone else.
Aaaaaand! Then it happens! It begins in such a ridiculous way that it’s almost laughable. In fact when it happens I’m seldom actually expecting it to happen, and I’m certainly not expecting anything worthwhile to come of it. Maybe faking it isn’t quite the correct term for what happens when it happens. Maybe it’s just that I let go of my expectations and slip into ‘play’ mode. Words is words, after all, and what are they for if not to play with? And somewhere in the playing, cool things start happening, like building a Leggo fortress or a sandcastle. And there it is! I’m playing! And the words I’m playing with are leading me somewhere I never really expected to go, somewhere that’s a long way from faking it and miles from where I started.
That’s when those words satisfy! They leave me breathless, and flush-faced and panting as I hunch over the keyboard for more. I get stories that way. They often come to me when I’m faking it, and when I’m laughing at the absurdity of the process. And before I know it, I’m not faking it at all. The earth just moved and there might have even been fireworks. God, I love it when that happens!
But in the meantime, I have to remind myself, it’s okay to fake it. It’s okay to play with words and see what happens. It’s okay to have fun. At least for this moment I’m having a short break from taking myself too seriously. I’m sure I’ll get back to it tomorrow, and with a little more time and a little more faking it, the final chapter of The Psychology of Dreams will be something I never expected, something I’ll like even better for the little bit of faking it I did today.
Don’t forget, tomorrow is day one of the Landscapes Blog Tour and Giveaway. Check the link for details on blogs and topics as well as the giveaway.