Saturday, March 31, 2012

Conversational Process Fatigue

The first question (and a I agree that it's a good one) is: what is conversational process fatigue? Or, to paraphrase that thing that one or another wonderful fictional character or historic personage said--or should have, if there is any justice in the universe: what the hell am I talking about?

This, of course, is a specious line of questioning, since I am not actually talking, but rather am writing. And yes, specious means what I think it means. I just checked, thankyouverymuch. I will answer the question anyway, since otherwise this blog is going to be rather short.

Conversational process fatigue is the condition I am currently suffering from, whereby I am sick to death of hearing other writers yammer on about their writing process, and not too keen on continuing to discuss my own. Which--according to my pageview stats--the Internet isn't keen on me continuing to discuss, either.

Yammer on is probably a far too negative choice of phrasing. Those other writers, whose podcasts' novelty is wearing out, are very nice, trying to help, and often holding forth in an enlightened and illuminating manner. It's just that I've heard almost everything they have to say a bajillion times now. It turns out that most of the basics of writing are pretty similar for most writers.

It's not that I think I know it all, or that I don't think I have more to learn. It's just that none of what I'm hearing anymore is really helping. It's the same old stuff. If I haven't grasped it by now, I'm not going to. (I make no claims either way, in terms of application.)

So. What then? How now, bored cow?

I've been listening to more audiobooks lately. A lot more. One or two a week. Mostly fiction, some non- (see media breakdown, below.) I am finding myself dropping more and more of the podcasts I used to look forward to in favor of these audiobooks (for those of you who don't know: I drive a van for a living, so I have about 30 hrs a week of usable listening time.)

I am learning so much more by listening to the fiction of of writers I admire than I ever did from podcasts. At least as far as writing goes. When I add to that my own writing, a cycle whereby I hear (read) what some author has done, go write a story in which I try to do something similar, then compare and contrast/get critiques/submit or whatever, I'm picking up tons.

And steadily losing interest in hearing or talking about "process."

Which brings up one problem: I mostly blog about my writing, and that is mostly about my own process. If I'm boring myself, and presumably my readers--no bueno. So what do I blog about?

The short answer: I have no clue. I got nuttin'. I can do media, throw in the occasional gadget blurb, I guess. I can kvetch about... you know, stuff. I can... I can...

I guess I'll have to think about this one. Or I may just forget all about this next week. It's certainly happened before.

Two things, though: writers learn by reading, and writers learn by writing.

Media Breakdown: I finished Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell. It was really good. Unfortunately, assuming I understood everything correctly, it was also really depressing.

Gladwell is a nurture over nature guy, and the basic argument of the book is that really successful people (outliers) are the ones who get enough early advantages (being smart and talented helps, but the most important determinant is early lucky breaks.) He makes a good case, provides plenty of in depth examples, and I think he's right. The bad thing about that is that if he's right, my chances of success (say as a writer), are pretty much outside of my control.

I can work hard, and hard work is a necessary component of success. But so is luck, apparently. Thanks for breaking my stride, Mr Gladwell, he said sarcastically.

There is a lot more to the book than my flip comments above. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in, er, the story of success.

That's all I got for this week, see you next time.

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