One interesting side-effect of my Silverbergian WIP-death:
I’ve realised how much of my work, and how much of my thought processes, had fallen into a pattern defined by what I thought other people expected: how often I went to an event because it was what the cool kids were doing, or because it might be good for my career, or networking; how often I LJ flisted people because they had done so to me, or because it felt like the done thing; how many associations I was a part of, not becuase I wanted to be, but because I felt I should be. How I approached stories in similar ways because certain markets leaned towards that approach; how my defaults were the same as everyone else’s; how writing was a process, a production line, a habit. How much of what I viewed, or read, or discussed, was based on what those around me were doing, and the need to fit in with a very small community on the edge of my interests.
Rammel, gewgaws, falderal, and expectations. And almost all of it without conscious realisation on my part.
‘Mazin’ what losing your bookmarks shows you.
Since I’ve started working on new stuff, from scratch, I’ve noticed something else: the forms are different, the approach, the skill sets I’m bringing to each story. I have only the task uppermost in my mind: the writing, pure and fresh, with nothing standing between me and the enjoyment of writing each indiviual piece. And I’m understanding that, for me, the joy is in the discovery of the writing process: unfettered from the expectations I have created for my ‘work’ as an homogeneous whole, I’m pushing myself towards new story forms, work that is immediately different to me, and exciting for all that. The stories look different, on the page as well as in my mind. I’m more experiemental in structure, point of view, narrative construction. I’m breaking rules, and doing so with confidence, because if I don’t sell another piece ever again, well, fuck it: I had that career. This is the next one. I don’t really care if I get the “Hey, didn’t you used to be…” response, because I’m not even sure I’ll be there to hear it.
I feel as if I’ve emerged from a cocoon, and that what should have been apparent to me all along is only now becoming clear, because the eyes with which I view things are still new, and sting in the sunlight. I feel closer to the desires and goals I had when I first started writing than I have for some years. And honestly, I don’t know where this is all going, but it’s no longer the point. I’m on my own out here, building my own structures. Whatever this new work leads to, it’ll be mine.