Looking Forward And Writing

A couple months ago I mentioned that I had started writing again.  I had been blogging.  I had been reading.  But writing was waiting.  I hadn’t found the time, used the time, or took the time–whatever fits–to write.  In October I had a conversation with Marisel Vera after she posted a few essays on Intersections, and I wrote daily after that chat.

After those months of consistent writing, I took a break for one month.  I got tired.  I had the holidays to deal with.  I had to finish a semester at GETS, gathering grades and having final meetings.  We had planning and things at the church.  So it was a good time overall to pause.

My head was still working, but my fingers hadn’t been.  I did some relevant-to-my-work-in-progress reading.  I asked some questions to a few friends, questions which are behind some of my characters’ behaviors.  I told folks that I was giving my unconscious a break, and it was actually the most misleading statement I could say about my writing process.  In fact, my unconscious has still been working.  It’s been grateful for the respite in key-punching if only because it wanted to flash images across my eyes, pull me into one or two critical scenes and not let me out easily.

The work has been different for the last month.  I’ve been anxious.  I’ve questioned how much pausing and thinking and reflecting and researching and interviewing were, indeed, a part of my writing process and whether it actually counted as writing.  It has counted.  At least so far as I can tell as I look forward.  Every writer writes like this, including words and impressions and sights in, behind, and underneath the actual words in the story.

I’m restarting that part of writing which is really writing today.  You may hear me reading my written words aloud.  You may see me muttering over words when my laptop isn’t around.  I might swipe your spiral bound journal and borrow a blank page.  Don’t assume I’ve lost my bearings.  I may be remembering something, on my way to a pen and a moleskin, alarmed that my memory may relax for an hour.

Starting today I’ll give myself a word count, though the count will be less than the 1,000 words per day I had done for the last round.  I’ll work to meet it daily, breaking once per week and trying not to give myself any more off days until something like a first draft presents.

If you pray, pray for me that I’ll write well, that I’ll tell my story with integrity and depth and humor and all those other important parts.  If you don’t pray, hope for me.  That would be extremely generous.

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3 thoughts on “Looking Forward And Writing

  1. I’ve needed to plan for extended amounts of time myself. I’ve been writing this novel in my head for the past seven years and finally decided to put my thoughts down on paper a few months ago. It’s been working out well, but I’m so glad I didn’t write the story when I first began writing novels. The stories have changed and evolved drastically. I can’t imagine where I’d be without the writing.

    I’m trying to start a new practice and set high goals that I may not get to. Stephen King says that if you don’t write and read at least 6 hours per day, you can’t consider yourself a writer. I doubt I’ll invest much into the reading, besides a chapter or two, but I do want to write near 2000 words per day.

    I just started this journey so I understand the ride you’re on. I pray your writing goes fantastically well!

    • Kashif, I appreciate your support and prayers. I read Stephen King’s memoir and my impression was that he was definitely talking about a person who is a full-time writer, something I can’t quite relate to at this point. It seems doable to put six hours in if writing is that one main thing–perhaps outside your primary work or whatever–to write that much. It got difficult for me when my wife got pregnant and, more so, when the boy came two years ago. Which is why I’m glad to be writing as much as I am again. I suppose looking at the writing as “part-time job” could help. I’ve done that at points, and it’s helped me treat my writing like a professional. Even then I don’t know that the words always come when I set my rules up. The stories and the words make me wait sometimes.

      I hope you find that right balance of writing as much as you need to and stretching yourself. Let’s keep in touch because I’d love to know how things are going for you.

      • Yea. I’m a part-time writer as well. When I made that Stephen King reference, I only meant to cite it so you’d know where I got my “inspiration” from. I can definitely write a lot in a day, but there’s no way I’d read as much as he does. Plus, everyone has their own way of doing things. So even if he is talking about full-time, that’s just his way of doing things. How ever you get things done will be best for you and I support you all the way.

        I’ll definitely come back with word about how far I’ve gotten after writing a bit. I’m already finding it difficult to keep track of how many words I’m writing because I’m in a revision stage, but I’m sure I’ve done enough for the day.

        Having a kid is already more work than a full-time so I definitely can’t relate to your schedule. I hope you keep going and encouraging yourself like you do in all these posts. It makes for an inspiring read.

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