21 May 2010

All That Lurks...

by guest columnist Mike Elrod.  Follow him on Twitter.

Writing is an odd creature. For some of us it’s a practice in discipline, for others, a practice in letting go. Striking a balance between the two is not only essential to the creative process but essential to the very life of humanity. I, like anyone, have struggled with both sides of this paradigm in my writing and my life. So, my thoughts this week have centered around the idea of what writing is and, like any good comic fan, I’ve applied that thought as a metaphor for where I’m headed.

I’ve decided to give it a name. I don’t presume to be the first with this idea or even this name. But I’m going to say it anyway because it bears repeating.

One has to develop a discipline of letting go.

I could sit here and type away about how great an idea this is. I could tell you everything that I’ve thought about in conjunction with it as well.

But I won’t.

Instead, I’m going to show you. For the next ten weeks I’m going to write one issue per week until I’m finished with the rough draft of All That Lives. At the end of each week I’ll turn them in to my partner, Mike Carpenter, who is doing the artwork for the book and brainstorming the story along with me. For the next ten weeks I will practice the discipline of sitting down to the computer every day, forcing myself to block out the desire to be lazy, I’ll force myself to ignore the distractions of the phone, Facebook, and Twitter until I’m done writing for that day. My schedule changes from day to day but that’s no longer an excuse. I will take the time needed to meet my goal no matter what part of the day or night that is.

And while I’m doing this I will also practice the discipline of letting go as I enter the world of All That 
Lives. There will be no concern for making something come out the way I want it to. I’ll let the story unfold as it wishes to be told. I’ll let the fiction tell its own truth.

And just so it doesn’t seem like I’m bullshitting anyone, I’m going to document this for you all. I’ll write about the experience each week as it occurs and include those thoughts about the discipline of letting go as I proceed down the road for the next ten weeks. Maybe you’ll join me in this. I’m not saying you all don’t have legitimate excuses. I’m saying that I don’t, and that it’s time I dive in and see what this story is as a whole.

There’s a great scene in the film Hamlet 2 where Steve Coogan’s character Dana Marshz tries to sit down and write his opus. Finally after days of getting nothing out, he speaks the three truest words in the entire film through overdramatic tears. “Writing is hard.” What comes next is a little production that centers on a beautiful song called "Rock Me Sexy Jesus."

While I’m not looking to write my opus on my first attempt there’s only one thing I know about this experience for sure here at the beginning:

This is gonna hurt.

Mike Elrod is an instructor for a small college in the North Georgia Mountains where he spends his days helping students research their papers as he pines for the city. By night however, he reviews the show Supernatural for Pulptone.com. He also writes a graphic novel, All That Lives, along with Michael Carpenter - who produces amazing artwork -  about growing up and the zombie apocalypse in the South.


Jonathan said...

Looking forward to seeing how this goes. Good luck!

Michael said...

Thanks Jonathan, I'll be posting the next installment tomorrow!

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