I am sitting here contemplating participating in NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) again. This would be the third year in a row. I feel like Lance Armstrong on a roll, and wonder if I should go for one more victory. Another book of 50,000 words? I know I can write that many words, but I wonder if I can write something meaningful. Something that other people would want to read. I want to write. I love to write, but I feel like writing so much volume and having it grow stale on my computer is a waste. A waste of words.
I can use the month of writing to hone my craft. Like a triathlete who swims, bikes and runs everyday, I too need to train and I know I have let my writing muscles atrophy this last year. I wrote more poems this year than anything else, so it was not a total loss. My writing practice didn’t stall completely (I have numerous full journals to show for it). I did however stop sharing my work, which makes me sad. I have so much to say and the point is to be heard, not to just tell the paper.
The other challenge is coming up with fiction for NANOWRIMO. What story do I have to tell? I write from the heart and from my own experience. How can I put that into individual characters? I am faced with the writing challenge that every writer faces every day, writer’s block. Not just the ability to write, but to write something good. I doubt when Picasso painted or sketched that he thought each picture would be a masterpiece. Instead of focusing on the masterpiece, I need to focus on the process, the experience, the journey of writing. Every time I write, I start out one place and end up somewhere else. Like Indiana Jones on a new adventure – who knows what lurks behind the next corner (or in this case the next paragraph). Time to stop worrying and just get down to it and write, write, write. Right?
Over the last two weeks I have spent countless hours at the computer writing. Sometimes I knew exactly what I was going to write about and other times I had no idea. As occasional writer’s block cropped up here and there during book writing, I wondered about the necessity to get out your daily gripes and personal issues (daily pages) before getting down to the good stuff – the creative writing.
I suppose all the writing is creative – making up words and putting them to paper – but sometimes it seems the words don’t come because I am stifled. Stifled by my inability to get a word on the paper. Getting ‘the’ or ‘once upon a time’ seemed futile beginnings, but weren’t they better than never starting at all? Maybe if I had written my daily pages, getting started would not have been so difficult because the junk would have already been cleared away.
Is daily writing as important as some many other daily tasks we do in the name of health – eat, brush our teeth, or shower? If I don’t write, is it true that no one would want to be around me in the same way that no one would want to be around me if I hadn’t showered in a week? I know I should write every day, but I don’t. I guess I don’t ‘smell’ the need for writing and I ‘let it go’ longer that it should. This reminded me of a husband and wife with varying tolerances for what is considered a ‘clean’ bathroom. Eventually the bathroom has to be cleaned, much like the mind needs to be cleaned of words, it just depends on how long a person can stand it. Now I am hoping this little scouring is enough to clean my mind so I can get on with writing my book.
I am looking forward to the home stretch on the writing of the book this month. Just two more weeks and I will be back to blogging at my regular pace, which seems a snails when compared to the speed in which I am writing this book!
It amazes me how two people can express themselves so differently in writing, than they do in person. Why is there a discontinuity between the ‘real’ and the ‘writer’? Somehow the ability to communicate verbally causes people to trip over their thoughts. If they only had the extra time, then they could put together their ideas without the distraction of visual and audio stimuli. Then, maybe the two types of communication would be more similar.
I was watching “In the Good Old Summertime” (1949) with Judy Garland and it had a distinct similarity to the movie, “You’ve Got Mail” (1998). Later I discovered that both of these movies were remakes of the original movie, The Shop Around the Corner” (1940). I found it interesting to contrast the 1940’s hand-written letter communication to the modern-day e-mail, with the same kind of result.
These movies depict two people who disliked each other in person, but who fell in love through writing. I wonder how often people miss their perfect match in daily life for the same reason? They only see the ‘live’ version and not the letter-writer. Two people can be together day after day communicating ineffectively, yet two people living miles apart with no face-to-face meetings can create a very close connection through their writing. It is now clear to me why love letters of the past were so powerful. Who are you going to write a letter to today?