Wednesday: on writing
Rather, on non-writing.
One of the most frustrating things about being a writer is when you can’t. I’m not talking about being blocked by internal inabilities—“writer’s block.” I’m talking about what Lao Tse (he must have raised small children) called the “the ten thousand things.”
I was spinning along just fine with the current novel—working title, Garment of Shadows—when I was forced to hie me to Santa Fe for Left Coast Crime. Which was lovely, but unlike Hawaii two years ago, I had no time to work. So, fine, it was a working holiday, and a change is as good as a break and all that, except that I came home to find the pass pages of Pirate King waiting for me, which took a week. And then yesterday, a meeting at the Santa Cruz library, which was also lovely but being in the middle of the day meant that nothing else got done but chores.
All of which means that today is the first time in two weeks that I’ve been able to pick up the book, all 70 pages of it, and try to remember where the hell I was going with it.
There is, in fact, a benefit to picking up a piece of work that’s had time to go very cold. Perspective is gained (albeit painfully—rough drafts can be rough emotionally as well as grammatically: i.e., God, I’m a crap writer) and interesting, potentially useful details noticed. The strengths of those 70 pages may be flitting, undeveloped, and largely hidden behind the waffle, but a fresh look at the material not only brings a new point of view, it can offer an invigoration to the writing just at the point it is needed within the book.
So, now that I’ve fulfilled my promise to post this Wednesday on Writing thought, I will:
1. Finish reading the printout of the novel’s first quarter
2. Go take a swim to let my brain wrestle with possibilities
3. And then tip open my laptop and get writing again.
Unless, of course, I’m interrupted by another of the ten thousand things.