A funny thing happened after I told Robert Heinlein’s story about the monkey on his back. The itchy feeling in the back of his head which could only be scratched by getting the story written down.
In describing his writing process, he occasionally referred to the characters telling him the story. It was as if, once he had created them, and set them up, they were real, independent of him. They were in there, itching to come out, and the only way to get the monkey off was to write their story down, as they told it to him.
When I first read this idea, in Stranger in a Strange Land, IIRC, I thought it to be complete crap. Now that I am writing every day, I see a great deal of truth in what he said.
I will often sit down to the keyboard, put my fingers on the home keys and begin to write something. As it comes out, it evolves and changes, and quite frequently becomes something very different from what I set out to say.
I have read this from a number of authors.
Stephen King wrote about how he had no idea how his gunfighter fantasy epic was going to come out. I don’t recall how long it took him to write, but he had stories about fans who were dying and wanted to know how the story ended. They’d write to him, begging with their dying wish, to know how it ended, promising to take the secret to their graves.
He always refused, even the guy on death row, because in his words (paraphrased) he couldn’t tell them how it all came out, because he didn’t yet know.
I find that happens to me. A lot.
I can’t stand Stephen King. Not the drunken asshole, not the writer, not the books. I think I’ve finished 1 of his steaming piles, and I’m not likely to finish another. I never imagined I would mention him in one of my posts, I never planned to mention him in one of my posts, yet here we are; the story I wanted to tell pulled that memory up, and put it on the page.
So, what is the funny thing that happened after I mentioned the monkey on my back to sit down and write something, anything, every day. He literally won’t let me go to bed until I click the publish button on something.
Well, he decided to get on me for not keeping up with my YouTube videos.
Now he’s pooping in my hair (okay, he’s not…I’m bald) if I don’t get something recorded every day, too. And he’s such a harsh task master that tonight I got 7 new videos filmed.
Yes, that’s right, 7 videos.
I genuinely prefer the written word, but for for making content, fast, video is pretty awesome.