Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This is What it Means to Be Writing




I haven't gotten much work done on the novel in the past three weeks. Several family members have been sick, other projects have been a higher priority, and, well, life just basically got in the way. It happens. But it's always difficult climbing back into writer mode after a break like this. I've been tracking my thoughts for the past couple of hours as I've started to work on the novel again. So here, for your reading pleasure, is what the mind of a writer at work actually looks like.

Wake
Shower
Eat breakfast
Check email and Facebook
Write sticky note reminding self to stay mindful of being online - Facebook and other writers' blogs can eat up my writing time
Open binder with current draft
Open binder with completed second draft
Laugh because the scene I'm working on next occurs on page 45 in the current draft, and page 3 in the completed second draft.
Open both documents in Word.
Stare at screen.
Think: I wish I was writing this faster.
Think: I'm forgetting all the amazing things I wanted to add into the new draft, all the links and layers of meaning.
Think: I've let it go too long before getting back to it.
Read Chapter 3 in current draft to get back into the flow of the work.
Think: If I keep rereading this every time I stop writing for awhile, I'm never getting it finished.
Write: edits in Chapter 3
sound of hammering in the distance
Think (and say out loud): REALLY??????? Now????????
Grit teeth and continue reading/editing
Think: Maybe if I stare at the screen long enough something will happen.
Think: Maybe I should go do something else.
Think: I need to send an email to X
Start my "to do AFTER I finish writing" to do list with "Send X email."
Think: I also need to send an email to Y
Add, send email to Y to to do list.
Think: It's 11 and I'm going to need to stop writing at noon, so maybe I should stop now.
Staring at screen some more, thinking about the scene that needs to be written. It's the funeral scene, it takes place in a church the mother likes because of the stained glass.
Think: Hm...what's the history of stained glass windows in churches?
Go to Google, type "History of stained glass"
Find information
Think: Wait, I just may have found a way into this story again.
Read more
Notice: There is no hammering while I'm looking up the history of stained glass.
Think: Hm. Cello music not doing it today, change the iPod to white noise.
Think: Doing something visual might be kind of fun. Maybe I should stop.
Read more
Break down, do some visual art.
Read more.
Think: Hey, this actually relates to one of the major themes of the novel.
Write
Think: 84 words! Whoot! I think I'm back in the story.
Read
Write
Think: Oh, that line resonates beautifully with the last scene in the novel.
falls in love with writing all over again

4 comments:

Traci said...

You forgot "Think: I'm hungry" and "Check fridge for snacks" and "Check fridge for snacks 10 minutes later even though nothing has changed except wasting 10 minutes of potential writing time."

Diane said...

This is true. Yesterday, at least, this did not occur during the time I was writing, but that is common. And, fortunately, I had already made myself tea, which is another way to spend time "thinking" about writing.

A.J. Lane said...

I was stuck the other day and Josie said "Why don't you just make something up?"
And I thought, right, I can do that.

I don't, however, seem to have time to shower...

Maison Conti said...

This is like a brain map...it sounds so familiar. My brain has a lot more "oh, you're not good enough to do this", "you're too lazy, you're too dumb." At least your process gets a bit meta. You can write about not writing. Love it, even as it makes me cringe!