Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nervous Tics, Rituals And Other Touchstones

Status Update: On the new bag at last. Crazy powerful stuff. Blacker than a serial killer's guts, stronger than a marathon runner's jock strap. In other words, just what the doctor ordered. One cup of this stuff, you'll be firing laser beams out of your eyes and yodeling Wagnerian opera.

Got the next outline drafted out. It's going to be another S. M. Wakeman story, I think. It's been too long since I've written about those two (actually, three...four, if you count the ship) idiots. And I wanted to do something in one of my main interest areas for week numero veintiseis: slap-happy off-the-cuff swashbuckling pulp serial. Hell, yeah.

After that, it'll probably either be something unrelated, like a one-off of some sort, or back to Cameron.

But enough of that.

I've been taking a cold eye to my writing process these days. A clinical look, if you will.

It's weird just how many nervous tics and rituals I have to go through to get any sort of writing done. I am completely unable to write if I need to clip my fingernails. I have to have a beverage near at hand, even if my back teeth are already floating. If my back teeth are already floating, I have to do something about that post-haste. Writing beyond a certain point in the evening is hard to do--I'm like a prose Mogwai. You keep me up too late, crazy shit happens. Don't let the crazy shit happen. Is my cell phone ringer turned on? Turn it off! What if that frigging demon box starts making noise when my brain is pumping out awesomeness?! Gah!

I'm basically composed of forty-five percent meat and fifty-five percent nervous tics. At least when writing time rolls around.

Every writer I've spoken to has these little bits of weirdness. One of my professors could not do a thing until her coffee table was squared away just so. Not a single word. Is it procrastination? Is it anal-retentive OCD? Are the muses just really picky?

For me, at least, it's more about removing distractions. When I'm writing, I want to be in a bubble. Not a bubble of silence, but a bubble of "just-so".

Sometimes it's about recreating a moment. That one time when you were 100% on the beam, just a conduit from your subconscious mind venting right onto a steaming piece of paper, when you were writing so quickly, so perfectly, you could hear each word clunk into place. You remember that moment and you want to set up conditions exactly so you can do it again.

To someone looking in from the outside, you probably look pretty weird, sitting there with tin foil wrapped around your head, agonizing that you can't get the right Spice Girls song queued up. And you probably are, but it kind of makes sense from inside your skull. It's not logic, there's no bullet point list of things which must be done. It's like going to bed in the ass-end of January, when it's twenty below outside and you dive into a pile of blankets. You squirm around, making a you-sized hole in your nest, moving with no real organized plans, just instinctively forming a shape which will provide no distractions during your sleep.

Or you're just a weirdo.

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