of sealing wax and sailing ships
of cabbages and kings…
It’s been a wonderful month. Have been clearing my writerly desk of tasks and commitments that take me away from writing. Well, as many as possible. Still must find a part-time job to supplement the severance pay still forthcoming from the State. (and why does it take them so freakin’ long to process a request like mine? One would think that having given 60 days notice would be ample time to do their jobs…but don’t get me started) Still truly enjoy spending more time with the dogs, which isn’t really actively writing…though I do find myself pondering plot lines and character arcs while we’re out in the wilderness. As any writer knows, 90% of the actual writing process occurs while not actually writing. That’s true as long as the individual recognizes that eventually, one has to sit and perform the physical act of writing. I’ve managed to carve out 4 or more hours a day to do just that.
When you’re not satisfying that certain part of your being that craves creativity, like writing, the erosion of that part of you is not always obvious. However, when you do satisfy that part of you, you suddenly realize exactly how much you’ve been missing it. I believe so many writers would benefit from remembering that vital information.
There are “writers” I know who haven’t produced any real writing for months. Maybe years. Either they’re experiencing an astounding case of writer’s block (or writer’s resistance, as someone once said), or they merely want to call themselves writers without having to go through the hard work of actually doing the writing. My bet is with the latter. These faux-sters will most likely never be successful. But to hear them espouse themselves as writers is frustrating for those of us who actually do the heavy lifting, aka writing. It’s like having a co-worker who continually claims to be so inundated with work, yet they never seem to accomplish anything or actually be doing anything. I’ve met quite a few of them in my career(s) and have zero tolerance for such poseurs.
Wow…how did I get diverted to that rant?
I’m nearing the 50 page mark on the final re-draft of Throwing Rocks at God. It’s solid and satisfying writing, with surprises that even I didn’t see coming. In his book On Writing, Stephen King talks about the fact that he doesn’t plan his books in advance. My style is very similar to that. I cannot outline. It destroys the organic nature of the story, though I can see the brilliance in that for certain writers. What works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. King goes on to further state that as he writes, the characters develop and end up telling him the story. There’s something pretty magical in this process. To still be able to be surprised by an unexpected (but wholly necessary) twist in a story or a character arc is like being a gleeful child again, finding joy in things that, as adults, no longer intrigue or surprise us.
I’m rambling a bit here, but stay with me. I have a point, I swear.
In my late teens and twenties, I was in search of something. I traveled the earth in search of this thing which I could not (and still can’t) name. The meaning of life? Truth? I don’t know. But writing is the closest I’ve come to finding it, whatever it is. As a creativity coach, I’m blessed with helping others find meaning in their lives and in their work. For me, writing = meaning. That’s as close as I can come to explaining it. And meaning is addictive. Trust me on that one.