Monday, August 22, 2011

In Which I Steal Insightful Comments from Facebook

The other day, my friend Paul posted this video on his Facebook page, which prompted an interesting discussion. So I thought I'd share it here (with permission).

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

FB Friend Paul: He definitely hits on an interesting point, though I absolutely hate his solution of setting deadlines, because, in my mind, setting deadlines turns creative work into purely work that has to get done rather than what it should be: art. A project should never be done till you say it's done, not your calendar.

Me: Amen to that. I am also not a fan of deadlines. The minute you turn something you WANT to do into something you HAVE to do, that's death.

Paul: Exactly! In my opinion, the way to improvement is careful analysis of what you have versus how you initially envisioned it in your head, and then thinking of how you can get what you initially envisioned out into your work. It's a slow process, but it must be slow. Otherwise you'd lose crucial detail and insight.

Me: Hmmm. Maybe that's why it's taking me a geological epoch to finish one book . . .

FB Friend Rob: Don't think of a deadline as a deadline. Think of it as a milestone. The deadline for the first draft doesn't mean the "art" is finished; it just means you're committed to finding some kind of a path to the end of your story in that timeframe. I agree with Orson Scott Card that there are ten million wrong ways to tell your story, and probably about a thousand right ones, and so you're a lot more likely to find one of the crap ways before you find a good one. A deadline isn't about artificially forcing the art; it's about motivating yourself to get past the crap.

Me: You're right Rob, but that's much easier said than done for a perfectionist like myself (yes, I know I have issues).

Rob: The trick for me was that I had to give myself permission to write crap. If the story's worth telling, then it's worth telling badly the first time.

I love it when I can get my friends to write my blog posts :-) Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to plow through one of the ten million wrong ways in order to find one of the thousand right ones.


Shelly said...

What a great analysis on writing deadlines! However, I think its good when you're doing edits and rewrites.

Janiel Miller said...

I heart Ira Glass. And I heart, heart, heart this. Great clip. Great post. You're the man, girl!

Cassidy Jo said...

Good luck today, Maegan :) I'm going to try a little of that myself.

Robin said...

Rob's last point was fabulous. You have to give yourself permission to do crappy work so that you can move beyond it in the next phase.

Maegan Langer said...

I think so too, Robin. He's absolutely right (Rob is always right). I think Paul was essentially saying the same thing, he's just more methodical about it, much like you and me :)

Russo said...

I freaking loved that you stole an insightful something from facebook. And it was something I needed to hear-thank you, girl.

One of my fave lines in this post is-"geological epoch to finish one book" I think you are writing smartly. Your strength is you construct the wrds and sentimnent perfectly. When I read you work I feel the emotion that your character experiences. And that's huge.