Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Do It

What I'm reading: Contest entries: 4/5

What I'm writing: Chapter 26

Get off your ass and write something. I hear you whining and kvetching out there, "I don't want to... I can't... I don't have time... I'll do it tomorrow." Ha! You don't have the time... you make the time, if you want this badly enough. If you burn you will write because you can't live without it, because you'd surely go mad if you couldn't write. Everyone gets just 24 precious hours every day, and no one is going to give you any more than that because you're a suffering artist. Quit whining and write.
~Molly J. Anderson-Childers

I've spent the last two weeks trying to be a "full time" writer. I don't really know what that means. I know that many days, aside from my begrudging trips to the Y, I didn't leave the house. I know when I had a full time, get in the car and go to the office day job, there were schedules and routines. Arrive, check my inbox, get a feel for the day's workload. Do the work. A break for lunch. Do more work, then go home.

Writing doesn't quite work that way. I'm home, so there are all the distractions and chores. When I worked the office jobs, I had to take care of 'real life' either on weekends or after hours. Now, I can hit the grocery store and do all my other errands any time I want. To date, I've been unable to say, "today I will write from 10 until 2, and then again from 7 until 9." Instead, I try to think that everything I do is "writing" whether it's doing promotion --like last night's fight with Access to create mailing labels from an Excel spreadsheet that someone else formatted -- or wandering the house listening to my characters, or surfing the 'Net to find Australian sheep station terminology. Some days, the words on the page seem to be gravy. But without any self-imposed "have to get this done NOW because it's my "writing time," I've been cranking out at least a scene a day. Yes, if I sat and simply typed it, it would probably take an hour, tops. But one can't wait for the muse. I've taken several story detours, but my process is "write it and see." So, I don't necessarily mind spending four hours thinking about a scene, writing it, and then deciding it's not really going to work. Because once I know why it didn't work, the road congestion clears, and I can speed forward.

Another quote:

Don't loaf and invite inspiration. Light after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.
~Jack London

Tuesday night, I finished a scene and had what I thought was a pretty good page-turner of an ending. This was reinforced by my daughter's comment that even though she knew where the story was going, she wanted more. NOW.

So, yesterday, I re-read that scene to get a running start, and began to move my hero and heroine that much closer to uncovering the vital clue to the mystery. But, somehow, they ended up in bed. I re-read it last night, and will look at it again this morning. Was I just trying to get something on the page, or was this a logical, significant to the story bedroom scene?

I'll read it again this morning and see how it looks in the clearer light of day.

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