The Middle Bit
Okay, for a little bit more…
Q: What is necessary for writing?
A: This much…
So what is absolutely necessary for writing? For art?
For me and my artistry it lies in the middle bit. The beginning and the ending are the hard parts. That is what separates the good from the bad from the ugly. Middles are, relatively speaking easy.
They are not easy.
But, relatively? Compared to beginnings and endings, middles are easier. All you have to do is right two words: “This much…”
Or maybe less? Maybe all that is necessary is one word: “This…”
Maybe less? A letter? “T…”
The point is…all you need to write is just to write. That is the secret of the Middle Bit. Writing anything, and let me say this ANYTHING means you are that much closer to a finished product. Think about that.
My saving grace has been and always will be Nanowrimo.
For those who do not know: Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. It is a celebration of the novel inside each of us.
The goal or how to “win” Nanowrimo is by writing a novel in a month. They break it down:
- 1 month
- 30 days
- 50,000 word goal
- At least 1,666.6 (repeating) words per day
That is a lot of content for those who do not know. But, it is about 2-5 pages depending on spacing and font. Anyone can write two to five pages a day! But, the truth is so much more simple than that.
The truth is the time limit does not really matter. The novel already exists inside of the writer.
50,000 words and the novel is outside of you. Sure, it might be a crummy novel, but that is what editors are for!
So if, after the first day you hit word count: 48,334 words to go.
After five days and you hit word count every day: 40,000 words to go.
After fifteen days: 25,000 words to go.
By the end of the month you have a novel(ette): 50,000 words.
But, even if you are the worst person at Nanowrimo, even if you are just a writer on weekends and you only write two words a day: “This much…” you are still chipping away at that block: 49,998…96…94…92…90…
Don’t believe me? Try it. Write “This much…” right now. Write it in whatever medium feels good: Word, Google Machine, Paper, Stone, Ageless Monolith from the Time Before…whatever blows your skirt up.
Write it out and see if you don’t feel better. If you do, then great, let it lie and call it a good day. You don’t? What would you prefer to write? Did you remember that scene that you have been putting off writing for a script, for a book, for a poem? You want to write it don’t you? You’re itching to write it…I may have to go away for a second…
Okay, I’m back!
The point: Middles beget Middles.
You do not need to get too far into your work to realize where you would rather be and what you would rather be doing. Listen to those voices. Listen to those impulses.
Ideas stack and take up space. By writing them out you get space enough for new ideas. Otherwise they will just keep itching. Write the blog post, sketch the sit-com, write a podcast, & WRITE A NOVEL.
No “or’s”, just writing. Middle bit after middle bit until the work is done. Until you hit your 500/1,600/5,000/10,000 word count. You build and you grow as an artist. Don’t tackle more than you are ready to take on in a single night. Don’t tell yourself you are going to bang out a novel in a weekend. That is probably artistic suicide (unless that sounds really cool to you in which case, why are you listening to some guy on the internet?…go…Go…WRITE THE DAMN THING).
The point is, start small. Start tangible and start with just two words: