I AM that ode!
Merry Monteleone wrote a fabulous ode for me. It's to the tune of "Stairway to Heaven". Make sure you check it out on her blog. She makes me sound wonderful - which of course I am.
Thoughts on Writing
When I wrote my memoir, the words flowed unrestrained. My fingers could barely type fast enough to keep up with my brain. The first draft was written in 2 weeks and had about 35,000 words. Then I went back and filled in all the details - ending with about 70,000 words in just over 6 weeks total. They were good words - great words in some cases with many interesting stories and lots of wisdom gathered from years of often totally screwing up my life.
Attendance at Backspace and frequent online visits to Miss Snark and other writing spots helped me through about 5 drafts before I figured out that it wasn't publishable as a book. There probably were several really good short stories or magazine articles in it, but that's beside the point which is, it was a really valuable learning experience.
Since then I've written periodically and quietly developed a story that's interesting to me and could be lots of fun. I put together story boards and outlined characters and places, working hard to implement all I've learned over the last year.
The problem is; when I sat down to write it the words didn't flow. Every time I wrote a few pages I had to go back and check for things like passive voice and adverbs and other nitpicky things that should best be left for the 2nd or 3rd draft. I asked for opinions too early from willing readers. It became an exercise in frustration and I hated it. '
Being sick always helps me put things in perspective. About 2/3 of the way through bronchitis, I reread my first 5 carefully crafted chapters and promptly deleted the whole thing. It sucked. It didn't have any of my personality or style. I was trying too hard to follow the damned rules and lost my voice in the process.
The rules are helpful and having an outline helps move me along the path, but too much structure and too many restrictions stifle me. I don't work well under those circumstances. I smothered myself.
The idea is still good, but I'm not going to censor myself when I start writing again. I'll write to the story but won't be concerned with occasional deviations or worry about typos or misspellings or passive voice or adverbs or any other grammatical mistakes as long as the words are flowing. I'll save all that for the 2nd or 3rd draft.
Sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. It can rob you of your creativity.
Here are some more of those silly buttons you can't wear to work :).