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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Ethos of a Novelist

I spent a lot of time doing what is expected of me because it paid the bills. I had to pay the bills. Going to college was something I so wanted that I allowed the debt to pile up. Now, to the detriment of logic, I am unemployed for the first time in my adult working life. But I am managing quite well, considering the huge relief that supplemental finances can provide. To meet the requirements of logic, I am searching for a qualified teaching job. Now, shut up Logic and let me do something I really want and need to do!

If you need the stats mixed in with the dream: I grew up in small town Kentucky and loved it. I earned a Master's Degree in Art Education this Spring. My Bachelor's is in Art with a minor in Theatre. I love the art of storytelling, no matter the medium, with a preference for sci-fi/fantasy based stories. Why would we want to escape from our boring lives into someone else's boring life?

I realized at some point that I'm a list-driven person. If I can make a list, surely I can accomplish everything on that list. Right? I categorize lists and break them down into sub-lists. I write micro-lists from my macro-lists. I half-heartedly accomplish the "need-to" lists of cleaning and organizing. I throw myself completely into the fun things that defy reason. After some enthusiastic list making...

So, there is my disorder. Laid out for the world to see. I make lists. The truth is that if I don't list, I have all the ideas for stories and things-to-do crashing around in my skull and I really can't focus. It's not a particularly horrible "disorder," but it is a character attribute. I've broken myself of the symmetrical stacking of toilet paper, finally. So only the listing remains.

Another weird thing I realized is that I am blissfully free of most levels of OCD. I don't ritualize every moment of every day. This is good because I don't have to freak out if something doesn't go my way, but it's hard to develop the good habits of taking vitamins and exercising. This anti-ritualistic mentality allows me to remain malleable (and physically squishy due to lack of constant exercise).

I think it's due to my messed up right-brain-left-brain integrate status. My left brain tries to keep my right brain in check with logic and lists. My right brain says "A'ight, then. I'll fill this head with ideas, but I refuse to keep her hyper-focused on your silly un-fun things so that she can dream!" Then the left brain says, "Then at least she'll be really productive with those dreams!! HA!"

So, I guess this is how I tick. And this is how I arrived at NaNoWriMo. Throw a deadline at me and tons of pressure, and I thrive!

Of course, I have a prediction and a self-challenge: I will get finished with this novel early. I will get antsy by the next morning when I wake up, and I will consciously stop myself from editing this novel until it has "percolated" long enough. I will direct the energy toward outlining the next, next novel.

Now you know I'm slightly warped. All of us "Creatives" are a bit crazy. If you are one, stop denying it! Bask in your creativity-induced-pseudo-insanity!

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