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I Love Everything About Writing Except the Paperwork

July 27, 2012


Well, that’s not true.  That would suggest I don’t like the act of writing; that it’s dreaming up a story that I love and putting it down in phosphors which I hate.  But that isn’t true. Anyone can dream up a story (more on that in a bit), but I enjoy crafting a story or article, selecting the words and conveying the meaning and heart of a story.  I actually do enjoy the paperwork.

What I don’t enjoy so much is the time it takes to do so; time away from family, laziness, other things.  It’s time I struggle with; how precious it is, how fun it is to use well or even to waste.  Writing consumes copious amounts of time.  When I’m daunted by a writing task it isn’t the nuts and bolts of the act, but the sheer, overwhelming granite of time required to make any headway at all.

And yet it’s time I truly enjoy; it isn’t until after, when I reenter the time-stream of my family that I realize what I missed.

Writing is a thing unlike any other.  A story isn’t a dream, it’s a mother-load of precious minerals, and I mean that in a fusion of literal and figurative senses.  I don’t actually believe people dream up stories.  They may dream up notions, but the story itself pre-exists in the best Schrödinger’s Cat sort of way.

Schrödinger’s Cat is a quantum thought experiment in which the cat both exists and doesn’t exist until it is observed; the act of observing creates the cat and not just any cat but that cat.  Just like a story.

Rembrandt said he sculpts by chipping away everything that isn’t the statue, as if David existed within the marble all the time and he must be carefully excavated to remain true to himself.

A story is like that.  Any writer who’s felt his narrative or characters refuse to go in a certain direction understands this.  The story is there waiting to be uncovered and simply won’t be true if it isn’t correctly explicated.

Right now, I’ve got a story pretty well mapped out except for the last five minutes.  The ending solution hasn’t presented it.  I know it’s there, though, it’s just waiting to be discovered.  And that’s the key; a story isn’t invented, it’s discovered. And it wants to be discovered.  The ending will present itself right when I need it.

A friend of mine recently asked why there are so many bad scripts that get made into movies.  I’d bet that few scripts that are bought are actually bad.  They’re probably well-crafted stories that a director and/or actor twisted out of shape, losing sight of the true story.  I wrote a short script that a friend produced.  It won an award, even.  But it wasn’t my story.  He went a different direction, rewriting the end and lost the meaning of the whole piece.  Like I said, it won an award, but my friend had taken my story and used it as a lodestone to find a different story.

Writing is like that sometimes.


One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2012 9:04 am

    Great post, Rob. Yes, time is the big deal of the day. How to spend it is the question that comes up over and over even when I don’t know I’m asking it. Also, I actually did know what Schrödinger’s Cat was. Sadly it’s because I’m a fan of the show, The Big Bang Theory, which I sometimes watch instead of writing..

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