Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Write Where You Want It

Erm. Writing isn't always fun. Especially writing for the job. Sometimes you have the most brilliant lines emerge from your thoughts. But at other times your brain feels like the dull end of ye old fashioned me-needs-sharpening kind of pencil.

Today was one of the duller moments for me. After going to great lengths to source for information online, having gathered all my precious archaelogical findings together and almost causing my eyes pop out from reading what I'd found due to its sheer volume, my brain was in a state of stupor.

One of the hardest parts about writing, I must say, especially of the non-fiction sort, is the part where you're just about to begin putting words down - when you've got all that you need right there with you, but for the time being it's still just a huge tangled ball of yarn stuck in your head.

Once the words get recorded one by one and the sentences are getting built and the paragraphs are growing by the dozens, you are in a safe zone once more. A rhythm forms, and soon you'd have a steady momentum to spit out ideas and string them together into a logical train of thought. 

Then you're alright. 

But before then, there's this immense battle combo of boredom, mixed with restlessness, fear (of not being able to write the article properly or convincingly), tiredness (which surprisingly sprang out of nowhere) and lazyness that needs to be overcome.

To describe this most difficult segment of the writing process, I will use the analogy of the feeling a person gets when staring down at a valley from the peak of a very high mountain and wondering when on Earth will he/she set foot on that ground that can now only be squinted at with the eyes. 

Yes, that says it perfectly.

When oh when will that burdensome article be done? The ever familiar repetitive silent cry. Sigh.

Oh, but when you finally get past all that, and you have your first draft fleshed out right before your eyes, the feeling you will get instead will be close to heavenly. 

So plod on you must. And so should I.

For there is no other way to transform ourselves into spectacular authors/writers except if we write, write, write.

Am I not right? ;)


One Minute Writer:

'Silly birds!  Music is for optimists!'

That was the thought I couldn't help thinking when I glanced out my window upon hearing the loud, chirpy tunes of the fair feathered friends that were cheerily resting upon the branches of the huge tree nearby.

You don't really know much about life, do you?

There is too much sadness to sing. Too little energy to waste on trivial things.

I gathered up the remainder of my stuff. I am almost done now with my packing. The room feels hollow now, with all my belongings tucked away into the pockets, zippers and corners of my luggage bags. 

I keep telling myself I will miss this place. But then I try to think about what exactly I will miss, and my mind draws up a blank. Perhaps I have been here way too long. Longer than I should have been.

"Sherlyn," a voice gently calls to me and I turn around to see Shermaine standing at the door to the room, leaning on the doorpost, observing me intently. She has a look of concern. She is probably worried about me. 

"Do you remember...?" I ask her, my eyes misting up. I try to blink fast enough to prevent tears forming. For now, I still succeed.

"Yes," she says quietly and nods.

I smile and for a moment, am jerked back a few dozen years to when it was. But wait. It wasn't quite that long ago.

*     *     *

"Play it again!" I gasp excitedly, my voice coming out all wrong as I speak too fast and too soon without drawing enough breath. I realise too late that the words have come out in the form of an almost unintelligible squeak.

"Alright, alright," he exclaims bashfully, and picks up the clarinet. 

"Beautiful..." Papa murmurs, and I note that he is staring off into a distant space as he says this.

Mama only claps.

Jester, our adorable beagle, whimpers in his sleep as if in agreement.

Shermaine hums the tune as Shawn artfully blows the notes of the beautiful tune through the instrument he caresses in his strong hands.

The shining hope of our future. 

*     *     *

"Sherlyn! Quick! Get in the car!"

Mama's voice reflects the intensity of her emotions. I pick up my pace and break into a run. I have always been the slow one.

The car speeds off in the direction that only Mama knows. I don't know where we are going. I still don't know why we had to go there.

*     *     * 

The first colour that I see is red. It is everywhere. 

His eyes flitter open and shut, over and over.

I hear the clarinet playing. I remember the look on his glowing face.

I remember. I remember.

Shermaine is wailing loudly, her sobs deafening. Mama is dumbstruck and doesn't seem to be able to move.

I am there. But maybe I was somewhere else all along.

*     *     *

Silence is unbearable. Noise is better than facing the quietness.

Papa clears his throat every so often, but no words escape his lips. I wonder at the lack of them.

Shermaine has the radio on, and the volume has been creeping up in tiny decibels with every few seconds.

Mama appears uneasy with the rising volume. She keeps wringing her hands.

Finally, she yells, "Shermaine! Turn that thing off!"

I swiftly head to my room. Bury my head into the comforts of my well used pillow.

*     *     *

"I wish they would stop singing," I say to Shermaine as I pick up my bags and head towards her.

"I know," she whispers. "I know."

Abruptly, the singing ceases.

In the silence, we walk down the creaky steps to front of the house.

With one last look about me, I hasten outside, leaving behind us a trail of long memories.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Barefoot Dreams

She likes to see the world in full colour. Better still, she'll kick off her shoes and scurry barefoot in the direction of any fun that comes to find her. She dreams of better days. She thinks maybe she found it this time.

Prompted by The One-Minute Writer :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Write Stuff

And so I have entered the REAL DEAL writer job zone. It's been about almost 2 weeks now.

Just like all other things in life, it's never quite like the general public's view of what a writer's daily routine is like.

For one thing, I am NOT working for a glamourous magazine publisher, so no photoshoots with models, no gorgeously goodlooking editors or sub-editors to ogle at, or absolutely awesome cool/hot/hip events to attend.

Well. There ARE events. But they're sorta more on the serious end.


Moving along...

In any case, for all you aspiring writers out there, let me share with you a typical day's work routine:

  1. Review any writing assignments that are half done and finish them OR re-edit completed articles to correct errors and possibly rewrite certain portions for better clarity OR seek superior to obtain new assignments to write
  2. Get disturbed/distracted by colleagues
  3. Daydream/brainstorm
  4. Try hardest to concentrate on doing research or writing
  5. Stay at desk for hours perfecting an article
  6. Receive feedback from superior for articles handed in earlier
  7. Amend articles if required by superior to do so
  8. Get asked random grammar or proofreading tasks by colleagues, just because being a writer is equated to being an authority on all things involving the English language
  9. Attend events
  10. Go toilet
  11. Eat, and then shortly afterwards, eat again
  12. Repeat steps 1-8 several times before end of day

That pretty much sums it up. Writing is a lot of brain work, so sometimes it's quite mentally tiring. Plus, there's the infamous setback known as Writer's Block, which is prone to strike every other day, or perhaps, when the weather is bad, every few hours.

All in all, it's just a lot of discipline and work-at-the-desk sorta stuff. Nothing glamourous. Nothing extraordinary.

Just the occasional satisfying, fantastic rush when an article gets completed on time, or when you get a byline, or when the boss says you've done a splendid piece of work as some sentence or phrase of yours was aptly worded.

It makes me wonder why my boyfriend so often reports to me that whenever he informs other people of my career they seem to be very impressed. Surely there are more awe inspiring jobs than a writer's.

But I guess it doesn't hurt to be admired.