Sunday, April 29, 2007


Rocky Stream of Consciousness

Neil Gaiman went away to write for a little while. When he got back, he took a few pictures of the The Graveyard Book he's started writing. He used a lovely, leather-bound, Italian book for his first draft. If you look at the page of text he's opened the book to, you'll notice that he doesn't have anything crossed out. By golly and by gum, it's one helluva writer who doesn't have to cross anything out when he's writing a first draft.

In a later post, he explains the lack of crossing out in his drafts. (Scroll toward the bottom of the post.) He writes using a stream-of-consciousness method that I've seen recommended for writing in order to get something down on the page quickly. Well, now, let me tell you, my stream-of-consciousness is full of rocks and my thoughts are continually getting hung up on them. Stop - start - go around - burble, burble, burble. My notebooks are pure disasters. It's why I won't use fancy journals for writing. They look so beautiful, all blank and perfect, and they tend to be spendy, so I don't want to mess them up. Instead, I write in cheap (10 cents on back-to-school sales) notebooks. I keep all of my writing notebooks and try to write an index on the front cover. Some of my ideas carry over from notebook to notebook if they're something I want to keep working on. I don't believe I'll ever get to a point where my stream-of-consciousness flows clearly enough for a nice journal, but I'm not going to sweat it. In this case, it's the story destination I'm after and not the smoothness of the path. My hat's off to Neil, though, for making it look so easy.

Btw, if you have the time, read the rest of that second post I've linked. It's quite endearing. Neil doesn't feel that he's in the same league as other writers appearing at a reading event that includes Steve Martin and Salman Rushdie, among other major authors. Hey, I'd want to attend specifically for Neil - and also Steve Martin, both of whom are among my list of favorite writers.

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