Sunday, September 05, 2010

Complaint About Stream of Consciousness Writing: Don't Always Know When I'm Done

Previous entry in this series is Start of a Series -- Two Experiments in One: Beat Structure and Shorter Blog Entries.

Stream of consciousness writing doesn't provide obvious clues of completion. For instance, I started drafting the last paragraph [of the last blog entry] using stream of consciousness process. I could have spent hours writing, ending up with a page or two of unneeded text. Thankfully, during some downtime, I realized that I had gone on a useless tangent.

In that case, I tried justifying that wasted time caused by stream of consciousness writing, as a topic, deserved a whole section of its own. Things I don't like about stream of consciousness writing all end up wasting time. Instead of being a topic, in itself, wasting time provides a transition and introduction to my complaints.

Sometimes a subject or topic seems good to put into a piece or seems vital to give receive attention, for whatever reason. Maybe the subject or topic incidentally popped into my head and it has nothing to do with the project. A conclusion or direction taken may end up moving away from the original intention. I often reach a point where I want a topic or angle in the piece, but the topic or angle doesn't fit gracefully.

I want to have these things in the piece, but it doesn't feel right. I just need to keep exploring the facts, the ideas and the logic. I need to justify having it there or discover a conclusion that feels right. Whatever happens, though, the task just keeps going on and on and on.

Only overwhelming frustration and exhaustion stop me. All that work, all that investment, for hours and hours, and I get nowhere. I just wanted

  • Things to work according to my vision
  • To follow the stream of consciousness that came pouring out to its logical end or
  • + To experience the eureka effect
Instead, the stream of consciousness whips me all about and tires me out. Maybe I can do something with some of the raw material later, but I can't predict the utility. None of it could have any worth, for all I know.

I figure I'll stop right when it feels right. The problem: it never feels right until I have a solid sense of the end goal.

Link of Interest: eureka effect

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