Monday, January 25, 2010


Today is my last day of vacation before school starts, so I decided to treat myself to a rare day of writing with no other obligations. When I was eighteen, this activity was common, but it hasn't happened in months. I was daunted at the idea. These days, I sit down for an hour in the evening and turn out a few sentences, if I'm lucky, then get called away to other tasks. In the morning, when I'm at my best for writing, it seems I'm always busy. But today the calendar was clear so I took the challenge.

Let me say here that I am very, very easily distracted. I can't write with music on in the background, for example. I can write when my boyfriend is in the same room, but not if anyone else is nearby. If my room is even a tad out of order, I'll stop in the middle of a scene to tidy it. This might help explain why the manuscript for my second novel is only thirty pages long so far.

This morning I set up rules for myself: no opening a firefox window for anything except to check or google images (I use the latter one a lot to get visuals straight in my head); no getting up from my chair except to eat or use the bathroom; no staring off into space blankly for longer than I could help. Lately I've been spending all of my writing time on outlines. And don't get me wrong, outlines are important because I like having later events in mind when working on earlier parts of the book, but I have a habit of letting outlines consume me, and they gum up the process when I get frustrated because certain plot points aren't working as I want them to. So another rule was that I could have my outline page open while working, but I couldn't add to it.

I sat down and started to work. Before I knew it, it was one in the afternoon and I had produced a couple of pages. For me, that's pretty good. Between lunch and dinner, I wrote two more. I had forgotten how accomplished it makes me feel to create. As Neil Gaiman says, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before."



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