Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Process

I have read that to be a successful writer, you must pay attention to the world around you so that you can write with detail and accuracy.  I have taken this advice to heart and make it a point to start my day observing nature and my neighborhood on a daily walk with the dog.  It is while walking that I think about improving what I have been writing or find inspiration for a new subject.

Mornings have always been the best time for me to write, as these things are easier when one is fresh.  Not to compare the two, but it also happens to be the time of day that I schedule mammograms, root canals and colonoscopies.  After walking and making a writing plan, I eat breakfast; throw some laundry in the washing machine and get down to business.  I turn on the computer but first must check my email, current news, bank account, faux jobs on Craigslist, and a dress on Ebay.  After that, I am ready to begin the writing process.  I can’t remember if I put the toaster away and so I head to the kitchen to take care of that and the phone rings.  It’s my sister and it takes us an hour to discuss emails, news, bank accounts, the dress I want on Ebay and the shoes she loves on Zappos.   When the conversation ends I return to the job at hand.  I head back upstairs and the first order of business is to pick out a font and letter size that is compatible with my subject.  This takes time and some test runs before I delve into my writing.   A woodpecker is tapping on the side of the house and interrupts the flow of my first sentence and I am distracted.  I remember that I didn’t take my calcium and the women in my family have a long history of osteoporosis and this is nothing to fool around with so I head to the kitchen.  I need to eat something as well since calcium can be hard on the stomach and I don’t want to feel poorly while I am writing.  A handful of granola and a banana suddenly trigger a burst of creativity and I run upstairs with a purpose to this writing business.  I can barely type as fast as my mind is racing with sentences.  When my surge is over, I read what I’ve written so far.  I read it again and then one more time for confirmation.  Sheesh, I'm not much of a writer.

I knew I should have been a nurse.  My mom told me that was a stable income, but I didn’t listen.  Well, I listened, but The Big Daddy said I nurse like Miss Ratchett from “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and it would be best if I let someone who was more suited to that work fulfill their dream.  I head out to the porch and pray that the Writing Gods will descend upon me and spark my imagination.  They seem to always be tending to Stephen King and Danielle Steele, and so I trudge back upstairs to the scene of the crime. Staring at me, mocking me is a cursor that seems to be blinking, “You suck” over and over.  I begin again, add, delete and use a thesaurus too many times for 500 lousy words.   I read over this version and it seems less crappy, or maybe I’ve lost the ability to discern crap from brilliance.

Lunchtime arrives and it’s time to throw in the towel on this writing day and move on to other things.  I have spent the entire morning thinking about writing, minutes actually doing it, and far too much time beating myself up over it than is mentally healthy.  If I am very, very lucky, though, I will wade through it all tomorrow and find one sweetly crafted sentence that will cause my little beating heart to go pitter-patter, and after coffee, a load of laundry, a phone call or two, a bid on a dress, 500mg of calcium and a wayward woodpecker, I will sit down and do it all over again.

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