Guerilla writing


Yes I know it’s an Orang Utan

Baby steps.  It is how I am attempting to break the ridiculous block I’ve been facing. I am using some new strange and odd methods to trick my brain into being some kind of productive.  One way has been to use my phone.  I was stuck providing my Dad with tech support the other week .  I was at his house for a number of hours before he got home.  I couldn’t settle to read, my brain was buzzing and fizzing with the idea I had been kept awake the night before. It was a strong image and I needed to realise into words.  I’d started the scene at two in the morning and had just saved a note on my phone with the sketch of what I had thought about.

That afternoon I had no other distractions so after fuelling self on tea and a chocolate biscuit or 5 I wrote 500 words.  Writing on the iphone is a pain but it served me because editing is a faff.  I wrote, I wrote some more. I carved out 500 words of utter rubbish, but they are the start of something and I’m pondering more ideas what to write next and where I can go with it.  Since then I’ve  added a few hundred more in the same scene, reading back over it all I know it’s a mess but its my mess and I’ve got things percolating now. I’m just going to chip away in quiet five minutes, adding to the words and not thinking about the mess.

This is very different to how I’ve written before.  On a good day I can splurge a good 1k words and feel that what I’m doing is good and makes sense.  I can’t do that at the moment, I’m tunnelling through layers of fear and procrastination. I have to persuade the negative voices to go away for a bit to get stuff done, something will have to suffer in the meantime and that’s okay.  It is impossible to do everything you want all of the time.  I am going to have to make this a priority.

So my tactic is kind of guerilla tactics.  Don’t let myself edit and work in short bursts adding a couple of hundred words at a time because they all count and they all can be made better.


4 thoughts on “Guerilla writing

  1. If you suspect you’re in for a difficult time, have you identified what stops the flow? Is it the basic purpose, the basic plot, an inconsistent amount of detail throughout that you feel you need to make consistent but can’t yet? If I’m ever in that situation, I find that very brief notes and mapping are more useful. That way you can see the whole thing top-down, without worrying about the detail of narrative; you can work on narrative later, but get a quick feel for whether it will work. If you’re on a phone/tablet, I appreciate that might be difficult – I tend to use a plain text editor for that, like Notepad++.

    • p.s. I know the point of this post is to write final text, raw, so what I’m really getting at is this: if that is proving problematic, then it might be most effective to use a mix of approaches; the (sparse) planning approach I mentioned is just one of the tools that can sit alongside the guerilla approach, for when things get sticky.

      • I have been sketching very scant ideas for things to come so that I can write bits and have a clue what I’m trying to do. I often have better ideas on the fly and change direction because of it. But it’s not for lack of ideas just cognitive powers to be able to get that done. It links back to fear I’ve been throwing up my own barriers to getting to the point of writing and that is what I’m trying to do.

    • It has been brain overload. New job was hugely busy. And it just got busier. This academic year my systems are already in place and my brain is showing signs of having enough processing power to be able to get some words out.

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