Amber Michelle (myaru) wrote,
Amber Michelle

100 Things 014: why does writing have to kill trees?

It's funny how, once I started to write by hand in spiral-bound notebooks, I realized that typing stories directly into Notepad felt like working on a final draft. For years now I've written with the assumption that what I type will be my final product because I believed I shouldn't need more than one draft to get something right. This was helped along by my relative success with posting first drafts, but for years I seriously believed (and still feel) that if I need to write more than one draft of a story, it isn't good enough and neither am I.

(I do know better, or at least pretend I do. Feelings and logic are not always friends.)

Another contributing factor is probably HTML. Since I do my own formatting and just cut-paste everything into the LJ/DW editors for posting, I type everything with tags as I go. Something about that feels final - like I'm doing my last run through a piece and adding all the fancy stuff to an otherwise finished story. And since that's all done the moment I stop typing, it IS very easy to slap the story online without any further thought and get that wonderful feeling of instant gratification.

Writing on paper introduces a mandatory drafting process if I want to put anything online. It gives me a chance to think a little more. That doesn't always help with stress (which usually starts with doubt, and doubt always starts with thinking), but it does hold the worst back long enough for some writing to happen first. Instant gratification is absent from this new formula, but this is balanced by how much less pressure I put on myself to get everything done perfectly the first time.

Since this is a complete 180 from what I used to feel, I thought it'd be interesting to note here and look back on it later, once I'm done with this challenge. Because sure, I did start working in notebooks to get myself away from the computer and all its distractions, but I didn't expect that to a) turn into a habit, or b) replace typing almost completely.


Semi-related, this warm-up exercise using different notebooks for different subjects is a marginal success. I don't work in these notebooks consistently, so sometimes a month will go by in which I don't even look at them (like now, cough), but when I'm stuck, or not in the mood to work on my primary project, they gave me an easy, guiltless way to explore other ideas I have hanging around. And since they're warm ups, and not obligated to be good in the slightest, I feel okay exploring characters or scenes more than once, and stuff. I don't always want to do that in my primary notebook because I've got a lot of note-taking and other stuff interspersed between actual prose, and that makes it hard to keep track of changes.

I added a notebook for fic too, which is what spurred the above revelation re: feeling like typing = writing a final draft. Unfortunately, my original project(s) are a long way away from the typing stage; the short story I was working on needs to sit (and now is the time to do research, if that's going to happen at all), and the new story I'm working on in the meantime is still in the early stages of development. Notebooks are currently the only thing keeping me writing actual prose.

This entry was originally posted at Discuss here or there as you prefer.

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Tags: challenge: 100 things, public: writing
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