Saturday, July 2, 2011

Even With All My Faults, I'm Still a Writer!

Posted for Peg Hanchar:

So it's the 2nd and the day is nearly gone and I am just now blogging. Thanks to Patty for reminding me. I decided this will be a good day to discuss memory and procrastination, both deadly foes to writers.

Even though some of you may be possessed of an excellent memory, I'll bet you have moments when you're writing along and you forget a character's name, okay, not your main protagonists, but an important secondary character. I've often wondered how other writers handle this dilemma. I've found if I have a book or tablet nearby to list my characters and main points of the plots, when I run into that brick wall of forgetfulness, I can just quickly check my notes and zip right along. It's always a stopper to have to go back and check. Okay, so that wasn't advice any one really needed because you already do that, but do you just use a piece of paper with the notes scribbled on it? Or do you actually have a working notebook? I used to jot it down on a piece of paper, usually a quarter of a typing paper that's been used on one side and recycled for its clean side, but after awhile, I have a zillion of those things floating around my desk and have to shuffle through them to find the right page, only to find that in a mad moment of tidiness, I've thrown it away. No, a book of some sort works best. A notebook, spiral maybe or one of those adorable bound books of blank pages that yell out to you from the bottom of the pile. Yeah! That works for me, quite well, at least for my work. The rest of my life, I still haven't found a solution.

We just put in an electrical fence for our wandering dog and everytime he runs through and he does, a shock of electricity reminds him he shouldn't have done that. He yips and barely pauses. By that time, he's on the other side of the fence and freedom. He takes off like a shot with his little fluffy tail waving triumphantly. Too bad I couldn't use something like for myself and every time I goof up and forget something, I'd get a little shock of electricity that would make me yip and remember again. Of course, there would be moments when that little yip might be off-putting like in the middle of church services or when I'm about to make love to my husband, well no, that would send him the wrong message!

Anyway, there's no solution for bad memory. If anyone knows one, then contact me immediately, but remind who you are first.

While I can still remember it, my second problem is procrastination. Here's where an electric prod might really work, although in my defense, I want to say that bad memory might come across as procrastination. Because I'm a born procrastinator, I try to overcome that fault. Usually, if I had something that needs doing I jump right on it. What a sense of accomplishment when I've completed an onerous task, what a sense of virtue! I think I'm awesome. I am, but even more so, when I do my tasks on time. It's a feel good moment. Blogging doesn't make me feel good. Blogging makes me feel like a procrastinator.

But enough of my writer's woes. In spite of my faults I do manage to meet deadlines and get my edits in on time. And sometimes for all my efforts, i get a terrific letter from my editor who says, OMG!!!! I freakin' love this book!!! Then I smile, raise up my chin and think again how awesome I am. I'm a woman and I'm a writer. How much better can I get?


Cheryl said...

You go Peg!
I have a program called Scrivener. i can set it up like a cork bulletin board with an index card for each characters information.
Of course, notebooks work great as do my books of wonder.
As for procrastination, I'm still working on that, but the 20 minute a day rule isn't a big commitment, and I generally write well past that.

J.C. Hanks said...

I'm a member of Procrastinator's Anonymous, but we keep putting off our meeting. ;) Sorry old joke from an old friend.

As for keeping track of my characters - and Jess' story has lots of them - I have a working electronic document that I have all the characters listed in. I've included birth signs, birth dates, genetic heritage, hair color...basically anything that's pertinent (and that I'm aware of) that I could mess up with later on. I double check against it when editing too.

I suspect this would work well on paper, but my handwriting is so horrible these days I wouldn't be able to read what I wrote.