Making the time to write is a tricky thing. As I skimmed through my bloglines this morning, I came across Elizabeth’s post at Fluent and Nova’s post at Distraction No. 99, both detailing their writing struggles–getting out of that box, making the time to write, watching others do it, willing themselves to do it, too.
I am in the privileged position of working part-time and having the temporal space for writing. And still, I do not write as much as I should–why? Because I am tired. But then I think about Laura Hillenbrand and how she wrote Sea Biscuit with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I start with the bouts of self-flagellation.
It never ends.
But yet, we all persevere, for that moment of beauty. For The Good Writing Day.
When I do have a good writing day, I get so high off the achievement–my feet barely touch the ground as I think about all the good words I’ve put down, all the good words that in such a particular order make for good story, character, theme, language! How does it happen? It’s like magic.
This weekend, I went on a long motorcycle ride with friends through the coastal mountains of California, down to a small cove on a beach. (no, I am not gutsy enough to ride my own motorcycle for such a long stint yet–I rode on the back of my hubby’s motorcycle). My back ached from sitting in such a fixed position for hours but still, it was an intensely pleasurable ride. At times, I looked up, the visor on my helmet flipped open, at the glimmering green trees and the blue sky peeping out between, and the golden sunlight streaming down…and imagined I was flying. That is how it feels to have a good writing day, at least for me. Everything looks beautiful, and I feel unhindered and free.
And yet that magic doesn’t happen everyday. I just have to sit at the steps of the Muse and just BE there when she comes out. If I’m not there, and she comes out, then I’ve missed her appearance. So I have to wait, like a forlorn lover, at her feet, for her random appearances, and wish and wish and WISH for the meeting, when it happens, to last as long as possible.
In the interim, I just pound out the words, sometimes very lifeless, knowing that they suck so hard I’ll probably edit them out. In fact, I just edited out an entire character and subplot of a short story I’m writing. It didn’t fit–what was I doing?
And now I search for that magical subplot, the thing that the character needs, that is part of that character’s life, that I can’t see right now, past my haze of exhaustion and frustration.
Well, I’m not searching so much as waiting at the steps of the Muse’s house.
And that’s what making the time is all about. Half of it is waiting. Well, maybe more than half.