Monday, January 05, 2009

writer's block

Finally got my Kavalier and Clay (w00t!), courtesy of Macky, who incidentally apparently (they rhyme!) just finished her kickass murder mystery(ish?) manuscript (Mayeh is now editing... o daba). *sigh* I've said this before: I really should get my shit together and start writing my own story.

Incidentally, Macky and I had the same conversation a couple of months back... during some pre-party lounge-about in the company condo (so we were still sober, albeit sorta senseless at the same time -- rambling about writing careers whilst lying on the double-deck beds tends to decrease the sensibility level, no?). She asked what's stopping me from doing so, and I had a long list of the lamest excuses ever (which she easily rebutted one by one): from "I don't know where to start" (she said nobody does, that's what outlines and mind maps are for) to "I don't have time" (people find time when they want to -- case in point, this writer who scribbles only during hours stuck in traffic).

Perhaps, I said then, that maybe my motives for wanting to write are very selfish to begin with. After all, I always say that I wanted to be a best-selling and award-winning author who will live off royalties, much like Haruki Murakami (or so those who read his works say -- di ko kinaya ang style of writing nya eh... maybe I should retry). Call me a commercial sellout wannabe. But it is a good motive isn't it?

The outline I did five years ago was lost somewhere in my old PC, and one of my attempts of a draft is still in my Z: drive in the office (read: it's timestamped 2004). It has a couple of lines in it. Not "Call me Ishmael" or anything bongga, though. Hehe. I remember consciously stopping then because I felt I don't have much experience to write about what I want(ed) to write about (and remember, the cardinal rule was/is write what you know). I believe I have erm... enough of such experience now to move on. So what's stopping me?

I guess I was (still am, at times) too focused and hung up on the aesthetics and technicalities involved in writing that next great novel. Grammar, for one. I've never learned the concept of "writing in white heat" and doubling the number of pages of one's first draft almost all of my English teachers had been saying since I realized I love writing. Editing in cold blood is the editors' job, after all. But somehow I can't shake off the nagging feeling that the sentences have to be perfect as I wanted them to be (witty, sassy, etc.). Then there's that fear that what I will write will end up as a... short story. LOL! Not that I mind, but for someone like me who dreams of royalties (and a possible film adaptation), do I really have enough material to go on?

Language is another concern. How will I tackle the subject matter? English? Bilingual? Tri-lingual, if you count swardspeak? Then there's formatting involved for language transitions (italics?)... See? I'm focusing on the visuals and nitty-gritties again. Even the idea of having a notebook to write ideas into has to be considered.

Yes, I'm being prissy. Maybe this should be put in my 2009 PDP. Parang assignment ganun. Tagging this as a personal quest-slash-new year's resolution apparently is not enough. How un-UB.

One of the consolations I have is that Macky spent ten years in the process (and apparently so did Junot Diaz for Oscar Wao). I have 5 more to go... not that I'm wishing for that same timeline.

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