Saturday, October 30, 2010

No, Really, This IS Me Working on My Novel

So, I'm working on my revision for Altar right now. And yes, I mean, right now. Which is one of the reasons I'm actually writing a blog entry. Believe it or not, this is part of the writing or revising process. It's the part writers rarely talk about because it's the part that makes it much harder to justify ourselves to people who wake up at six in the morning, get in their cars, and work in an office until five in the evening (though, I will say, if you look at the time and date stamp on this post, you will note it's almost six in the evening on a Saturday and I've been working, more or less, all day, since my spouse and kids are out of town this weekend).

Why am working on this post, you may ask, getting back to the matter at hand, when I should be working on my novel?

My answer, dear reader, is that I am. It just doesn't look like it because writing doesn't always take place at my desk with pen and paper at hand, words falling from my fountain pen's nib like raindrops from the sky. Sometimes it takes getting up, moving around, writing in my journal, making bread, taking a walk, listening to music, taking a bath, and yes, even writing a blog entry. Sometimes, the more difficult or emotionally deep a section is, the harder it is to sit in my chair. Those are the times my house gets REALLY clean or all the kids' outgrown clothing goes to Good Will or the dog gets dragged on a five mile walk. I had one section of Altar where I would write a sentence, jump up, walk across the room, straighten a book shelf, come back to my desk, write another sentence, jump up, dust, etc. All day long. When I told one of my writer friends this, she said, "Wow, that must have been some pretty deep writing."

She understood what this process looks like because she's been there. The process happens so slowly sometimes. For every sentence put down on paper, you'll spend fifteen minutes cleaning out a kitchen cabinet. For every paragraph, the bathtub gets cleaned. And for a chapter, maybe the rug has gotten shampooed by the time you're done.

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