The experiment was a miserable failure

I have officially closed the books on my writing experiment in Google Documents. As I noted in my most recent post on the subject, it hasn’t proven to be the creative opportunity I had hoped it might be.

Sure, it’s a handy (and apparently safe) offsite place to store files, and I’ve certainly used it for that, especially now that I have a finished draft of The Sleep of Reason to tuck away. And it has been a dandy place to collect thoughts and inspirations for works in progress; I have a half dozen files there where I make occasional visits to set down this or that note. They can gestate there until I find myself magically ready to begin working on the given story. (I nearly always find that I have far more notes for a project than I remembered I had, which is a terrific mental boost when I begin orbiting an idea with the sense that I’m ready to begin work on it.)

But as a creative nexus it just isn’t working for me. I suspect I’m a creature of habit. I do all of my writing at the same laptop on the same table in the same room of my house. (In fact, when the time and funding came for me to replace my laptop, I got another, newer version of the same type — a MacBook, of course.) I tend to access Google Documents — at least for my times when I want to do actual original writing — in uncommon locations or times, and I have found that despite my wishes, I just can’t get myself into the essential creative mental place in those uncommon locations and times. That’s a bit of a disappointment, but only a bit, and it reinforces the awareness of how I should best foster my creativity. In that sense, I suppose, the writing experiment has not been a complete failure.

I only wrote one short story from start to finish in Google Docs. It was a piece of flash fiction that I never found a home for, and while I think it had a good foundation as a story, the work just never gelled. (Plus I’m not altogether sure about flash fiction. Sure, you can tell a whole story in under a thousand words — some sites look for stories told in six words — but it just has the feel of stunt writing. I also think that about NaNoWriMo, but expressing doubts about that endeavor has garnered me some negative responses, so, ’nuff said.) Anyway, I don’t know if the “failure” of that piece of flash fiction was due to the fact that I wrote it from start to finish in Google Docs or not (or if I failed to shop it around sufficiently or if it was just not a good story), but for the present, I’m soured on the experience. And I don’t tend to have great swaths of free time, which I apparently need to get into creative writing mode, when I’m away from that same laptop on that same table in the same room, so a quick visit to Google Docs isn’t a fair place to attempt to write a polished chapter. Note making, sure. But not whole creation.

But experiments are for learning. The learning is the achievement. And if an experiment fails, then something was learned. I press on.

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One Comment on “The experiment was a miserable failure”

  1. Pete Says:

    Docs is a great tool for on-the-sly writing at the office – especially if you’re also writing and editing the same piece at home. Someone at work glancing at your screen and seeing the Google logo might just assume that you’re merely searching for market intelligence on your industry.

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