Saturday, July 28, 2012

Too Dazzling and the Anniversary Trick

Scott D. Parker

Sometimes, as a creative, you have to be a mental magician to get things done. As I continue documenting some of the struggles I've been having recently, I have two examples from this past week that illustrate this point and that rather cryptic title.

The Dazzling Dilemma

My wife is a jewelry artist. She makes beautiful, intricate, wearable works of art and has a great time doing so. As she writes on her website, she likes her art to make a connection with people. While she primarily makes jewelry for women, she does do the occasional piece for men. I wear a simple silver linked bracelet and it is often the one thing I have on hand to show folks what my wife does for a living.

For my wife, however, what piece of jewelry to wear can be a dilemma. I mean, come on: she's a jewelry artist, right? She takes great care and consideration which piece of her jewelry she wears to certain events since, you know, she wants to represent herself well. We had a day off on Tuesday where we had a meeting to attend. We were all ready to go, but my wife was trying to figure out exactly what she wanted to wear with her outfit. She tried on and discarded a half dozen pieces before settling on a nice turquoise necklace. She turned to me and said, "It's funny that I sometimes have such a hard time picking out just the right thing because I always want to dazzle people."

Her statement struck me to the core of my writing self. My writing style, such as it is, is one focused on flash. I'll admit that. While I don't necessarily go for verbal gymnastics like Michael Chabon or Jonathan Franzen, I still like the fancy, flowery writing. But when I write a basic scene or story, I have, to date, tended to consider it not good if it wasn't, well, dazzling. It was a realization I made this week and, as it applies to my writing, I decided to just tell the story and, upon *subsequent* revisions, I can add in the flowers. But I will not let the flowers get in the way of the initial output.

The Anniversary Trick

I've long said that it's taken me longer to *not* write my next book than it took me to write my first one. When I wrote that first novel, I kept all of my notes in one of those black-and-white marble-looking composition book. Not only was that comp book the store house of my novel notes, it was where I kept all of my motivational messages to myself.

Recently, I opened that comp book again to review how I started and noticed that I began that first novel on 27 July 2005. Well, thought I, why not kick off the new project on the very same day in 2012. And, since I made a notation of when I completed the first novel, I have given myself a simple goal: complete the next book in the same time or less. I'm big on symmetry and figured I'd like to measure myself against…myself.

Yes, I know these two things are mere mental tricks and the fundamentals of sit-and-write still rule the day, but, sometimes, we creative types need a little extra.

Y'all do any mental tricks to help you keep writing?

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