I am thinking a lot about writing, lately. Maybe because it’s November. Maybe because I’m always thinking a lot about writing.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on a long, fiction project, but I am still writing.
I write every day, actually. Emails. Entries. Papers. Paper journalling.
This stuff counts, I think. And the work I do – helping others with their papers, answering questions at the library? Essentially, these tasks are advanced communication exercises.
Writing a novel: also an advanced communication exercise.
There are some things I miss about working on a book:
- The pleasure of self-directed, self-motivated work
- The ritual of regular writing – the assembling of gear, the blocking off of time, the routine
- Staying in tune with the writing and publishing community online
- Watching the word-count in the corner of the screen go up and up and up
- The way it changes my relationship with reading
- Feeling like I’d finally found a challenge
- The sense of having a project that is 100% your own, where nobody else can “enter”
It’s more intense than my daily writing, more personal than academic. But it’s also quite a bit riskier. Even if you tell yourself that nobody has to read this draft – or any draft – fear & doubt & insecurity & demons inevitably enters your psyche.
People say a lot of things about writing, about writers. That you shouldn’t try to be one, because it’s painful, it’s difficult, and you probably won’t succeed. You need a thick skin. That you aren’t a writer unless you are writing. That if you were a real writer, you wouldn’t be able to keep yourself away from your work.
I hope this isn’t true. I hope that I can do the kind of writing that doesn’t pain me, but engages me. I hope I can still be a writer even if my fears and demons keep me away from the craft for awhile, that the words will be waiting for me when I get back. I hope that I don’t need to undergo an entire personality change to succeed.
I remembered how to get up early again (see: French Press). Originally, these early hours were for exercise, but it got too dark, too cold. Lately, it’s been for reading and re-centering and kitty-cuddling and the DVR.
When this semester’s madness is over and I suddenly have no classes and few job hours, what will fill this morning space?
I am thinking a lot about writing, lately.