Know that you have talent, are original, and have something important to say. - Brenda Ueland

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Up and at 'em

I’m working on a novel, my second one. I’ve been circling the project all summer, with a plan in mind to start when school started back. This was my plan for two reasons. One, my son would be back in school, making things much quieter the three days a week I’m at home. And two, back to school time feels like time for new beginnings.

Until then, I prepared. I sketched out an outline. I filled in that outline. I wrote ideas for scenes. I wrote out descriptions of characters, even the minor ones, their middle names and favorite gift they got from Santa Claus.

I set a goal of 1,300 words a day, five days a week. I met or exceeded that goal for a whole week.

Writing those 1,300 words was how I started my day. I didn’t read blogs or look at Facebook until I’d gotten in that word count. I found myself thinking things like, “When you want to write, you find a way.” and “There’s no such thing as no such time. Make the time.”

I must have been practicing my speech for writer’s conferences.

I went merrily on my way with my 1,300 words a day right up until the point when the real world interfered. My son was home sick one day, I spent a day out of town at a doctor’s appointment, another day out of town with my mother, a Saturday spent enjoying time with my brother and his wife. Tons of homework to help my son with every afternoon, cooking dinner, commitments at church. You know…life. Suddenly, I didn’t have the time.

And kind of wanted to shake that smug girl with her smug writer’s conferences thoughts.

Over the last week and a half I may have written a combined 2,600. Maybe more, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like I have. It feels like the world is on roller skates and I’m standing still, wanting to jump in and roller skate, too, but can’t get my bearings to even get started.

Friday morning while doing some longhand writing I realized that I’d fallen back to an old sensibility, that mindset of all or nothing.

Since I didn’t have a block of time available to write 1,300 words, I didn’t write any. That is crazy talk.

Today promises to be busy, as does pretty much every day for the two next week, possibly two weeks. I can write something to carry the story forward, even if it moves only a small amount. If it’s just 500 words. Or 100 words. It’s something, and every little bit counts.

The main thing is keeping that forward momentum. I’m doubly thankful now that I did the legwork this summer of outlines and character sketches. They make it much easier to dive in here and there as I can.

School is in full swing and I don’t get a pass for doing nothing. Just keep plugging away.