Monday, August 1, 2011

The Bear Necessities of Life

In high school, my friend Nikki London and I attended a local writing camp. It took place right after term ended and lasted four to five days. The camp was hosted at a local university; we bunked overnight in various dorm halls, had all meals provided, attended guest author lectures, performed any number of writing exercises, and ultimately submitted five to seven pages of short story or poems for a final compilation. During this time, over one of the writing exercises, Nikki and I began working on something that we are still working on to this day, though it blossomed into something we never anticipated.

The project in question isn’t anything we view as publishable. In fact, I believe we’d be sufficiently mortified were it released to the public with our names attached to it. That doesn’t mean we are ashamed—it’s rather something silly and broad and serious all at the same time, and we turn to it whenever we need a break from serious writing. It’s comforting to me, at least, to have something I can write and keep the creative juices flowing without worrying about how it sounds, and strangely, some of the best writing I’ve accomplished was through not giving a damn how good it reads.

In an addendum to my post last week, it is important to give yourself a break; that doesn’t necessarily mean to take a break from writing. I’ve been on a hot streak for nearly a year now in terms of what I’ve produced, and I don’t intend to slow down. Yet I will admit I felt, alongside the typical excitement, a great surge of relief when I saw Nikki had delivered new material on our endless WIP. This might seem strange to other writers—the idea of putting so much time and energy into a writing project not intended for publication—but it works for us. We enjoy discussing where our nonsensical, fantastical, awesome amazing plot of awesome (yes, it warrants two awesomes) will go. We are our target audience, and we love every second. Not only has it been one of the many thing that has maintained our close friendship over the years, it provides us both with a break from writing…with writing.

I strongly urge all authors, when feeling the pressure from their WIPs, to sit down and write something for yourself. It doesn’t matter what, just as long as you have fun while doing it. It could be something like an alternative ending to Gone with the Wind or an off-camera scene from Jersey Shore. If you’ve always wanted to write a ménage, start writing one, but for you and no one else. Personally, I’d go with the alternative ending to Gone with the Wind. The other sounds too much like real work, and the point of this task is to have a little fun.


Sonya Clark said...

Fantastic post and I agree wholeheartedly! Due to stressing out over a wip that I intend to submit, I started writing a serial and it has been so great to just have fun with it and not worry about pleasing anyone but me, or worry about all the rules. It has kept me writing when I know I would have stopped otherwise. Every writer should have that kind of playground for blowing off steam. :)

Rosalie Stanton said...

Exactly, Sonya! I am so glad you have something you're working on as well. It keeps you motivated and with no stress involved...well, I can definitely tell you working on this insane project with Nikki has enabled me to return to my serious writing projects with a clear head. It's amazing how much it can help.

Thanks for commenting!

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