Friday, November 30, 2012

The Goodbye Club

John's recent post started me thinking about a theme that keeps coming up on this website. It's how miserable writers feel when they are not writing. He mentioned that even a paragraph a day made him feel like he was being true to himself.

So why don't writers write?

I've covered the time trap and the lies we tell ourselves--how we'll start after this is done and after that takes place. I want to talk about the travel trap. The big goodbye club writers join immediately.  

One of the biggest thrills of being published is going places, meeting people, making friends, learning that someone out there likes what we read. It's exhilerating. And we're able to tell ourselves that we are actually working! Our editors, publishers, fans--just about everyone approves of promotion.

Then we learn that time away from the writing place can be deadly. Establishing writing as a habit is one of the most important disciplines for maintaining a professional career.

I have a very busy, buzzy exterior life. I have three daughters and six grandchildren. I love all the things they cook up. I'm very grateful that they include me in all the activities. I love my knitting group. It meets every Thursday. I participate in the All-Saints Episcopal Church's services and volunteer in helping with homeless families. Then there's the Met's HD opera broadcasts a couple times of month. Loveland loves parades and events and festivals and so do I. Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of American meets in Denver once a month. Women Writing the West meets quarterly. And writing conferences inspire me.

Get the drift? Since I switched back to hand drafts, I do a pretty good job of writing the first draft of fiction anywhere, anyplace. But the second thinking draft requires time in front of a computer. So does incorporating edits. I can't write my non-fiction book about African Americans when I'm away from my files.

I used to be a first draft junkie. Now due to the joys of being able to fiddle with a huge composite file, I love the challenge of making the second draft as good as my limited talents can make it. There's the thrill of finding that perfect word. The joy of finally forcing a paragraph to reflect my intentions.

A perfect morning. Magical, in fact. It's coming together.  I'm at the place where I was born to be.

And then my Outlook program reminds me of an appointment, an event. Something.

And then I say goodbe.


j welling said...

I love hand drafts. I've not been able to go back down that road though. Transcribing has taken a back seat to printing the first draft and doing the hand edits.

Twenty years ago when all I had to work from was MS Word, transcribing the first draft into draft 1' wasn't so bad. Now with Scrivener, I do better with an all electronic approach.

Lovely bit about time management.

Charlotte Hinger said...

J welling--I've finally had to throw in the towel when it comes to proofing and admit I'm hopeless. There are so many processes involved in producing a book!