Behind Closed Doors

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right — as right as you can, anyway — it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.”

Stephen King, On Writing

My hubs has teased me before about shutting him out of my writing; that I don’t want him or anyone else to read my writing. It’s not that I care if anyone reads my work (I have a public blog, after all), nor that I need or want to shut anyone out. It’s more like I need to shut myself in. I need to keep all these ideas and glimpses from flying away from me, and so I need to have a way to focus and get those captured into words before forgetting.

It’s a bit like describing a dream when you just woke up, which is the reason why I call my creative process active dreaming, or describe my writing as dreaming up my words and worlds. When I’m able to capture it via stream of consciousness writing, I feel so much better that I was able to get those words out. They are now in the real world, maybe not whole, but there, and I can flesh out ideas later.

But, when I’m not able to put those thoughts into words, and they go to limbo never to be remembered again, I feel like I’m dying inside. You know that feeling when you’re having a conversation with someone, and you forget what you were just about to say? You shrug it off during the conversation and say that you’ll remember it later, but then the whole time your friend is talking, you keep saying, “what was I going to say?” and the whole conversation becomes this meaningless exercise in remembering what you wanted to say. The frustration you’re feeling is a fraction of what I feel, because I don’t eventually remember what it is I wanted to capture. And, I feel like I failed my world in a way.

Though I know it will take a lot of work to create the scenes that I need, now that I have the story plotted, I feel like it’s more anchored in this world. I can be interrupted more, because it’s easier to recall and play with things that are “real.” I can pick up where I was interrupted because it’s right there in front of me, like a photograph, and all I need are better words to make it three-dimensional.  It has changed from being subconscious to conscious.  And, shaping and re-shaping something is a whole lot easier than starting from nothing.


2 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors

  1. liza says:

    Thanks for the well wishes! I appreciate the encouragement!
    I kind of have him trained to ignore me or not expect anything from me if I have my earphones in…they act like a door of sorts, plus the music acts like inspiring white noise 😉

  2. thefallenmonkey says:

    Yes, somehow my husband just can’t quite understand why I so often shoot him “the look” when he pops his head in the room every fifteen minutes when I’m writing . I keep trying to explain why it’s such a big deal to get interrupted mid-thought, that I’m immersing myself into a story world that I need to be able to see and hear to keep the words coming. If that door opens as I’m in the midst of typing a line of the dialogue that I “hear”—poof!—it is just as soon gone. He’s gotten better about it since 🙂

    I can swing the revision aspect of the process with a bit more multi-tasking ability, but I know exactly what you mean about that initial drafting needing to be such a full-on, free-association-of-thought sort of dreaming. Very exciting that you have your story mapped out – good luck as you flesh out the details, and may your interruptions be minimal 😉

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