Use it or lose it. The golden rule of exercise. I’ve seen its effects myself, in the years I’ve been doing my necessary sojourns on a bike. Strength and stamina don’t just build themselves. Yet, in a sense, they truly do. So long as you put in the effort.
I believe the same is true for everything.
The line of writing I have chosen for my work is fiction. But how much of that do you see here? I write the occasional thing, of course, like Marie Chen’s account of Proteus. In fact I’ve quite surprised myself by how far that has gone; given its intention. But for the most part, my writing here reads like a journal of my own experience, rather than the draft of my creation. Instead of writing Andala, I’m writing about Andala. It’s writing about writing! It’s meta work in lieu of the work itself.
I won’t surprise you one bit with the fact that my private notes read just the same way, and did long before the public Project Andala ever started.
There’s some necessity to all that. But I could go on like this for an individual’s measure of eternity. And I’d still be just beginning! That’s no way to write. Not exclusively. I really ought to turn this tale around.
You build your habits. And your habits then build you.
The writing I haven’t done is exactly the stuff I mean the most to do. The fiction! The drafting proper. The book. Why’s it such a fight? Well, my mental muscles aren’t primed for it. I could do far worse than exercise.
And so the thought occurred to me, while riding past Hound Point, that there’s only one way to change this. I’ve got to build the habit. I’ve got to write not only the very thing you see here, but fiction proper, on a routine basis. I’ve got to earn my chops.
But how to do that without stirring up a keen resistance?
Here’s the new bit. I realised that I needed to write non-critical fiction. Little things that aren’t make or break for the entire story. The kind of writing where I don’t get tangled up in a myriad of dependencies the minute I begin. Just what kind of fiction is that, though, given the world I’m building and my evidently maniacal desire for every last piece to fit?
There is just one way I can picture: to escape the canon completely.
One way to do that would be to jump ship to another project entirely. Not something I’d like to do, or think I could for long. Besides, the problem would remain, just in different clothing. No, I’m not looking for another macrocosm; but the opposite.
How about little fictions inside the Andala “universe” that I’ve already started? How about short stories contained within themselves, which needn’t define nor undermine the rules of the game? How about the legends presumed already extant on Andala, like Ayana’s myth? Or even just the backgrounds and day to day lives of the characters I’m making, without the need for vital moments in our future history? Ah, more tales within the tale. But short and sweet.
I doubt it’ll do me any harm. Or you, as I can always put the kibosh on publishing them. We’ll see. I just know I need to shake up my practice.