April 14, 2009: Everyday Kind of Girl

I’ve never been a proponent of the “you have to write every day” school of thought, and even now, I firmly believe it’s not for everyone. (Because nothing is for everyone, except actually writing, however you do it.) However, after years of believing I’m a burst writer — someone who doesn’t write for five or six days, and then slams out a week’s worth of writing n a couple of days — I’m starting to suspect I might actually be one of those write-something-every-day people.

My daily goal is to write 100 words. This post is just hitting that mark now, so that should give you some idea of how small an amount 100 words is (if you don’t already know). I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’m kind of dim today, and the batteries feel low, almost dead. On my break, I looked through the partial scenes I have in my laptop case, sorting through them and making notes on what they need. While I was doing that, I got a bit of an idea for what to write next in one of them, so I wrote the bit. Then, as I was finishing, I knew what needed to come next. I was out of time, so I had to defer writing it, but as I was putting the scene away, something inside insisted that this continual upwelling of ideas — because this “I know what comes next” happens every day — is a result of sitting down every day. Maybe it goes back to Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of just showing up. The key thing is that I show up to teh page, open to what happens, willing to let it go if all I get is a trickle, ready to go on the ride if a flood of ideas comes roaring out of the depths to carry me along.

But I don’t think showing up is the only thing at work here. I think letting myself write out of order is huge. I’m working on 3-5 partly written scenes, none of them ready to be set aside to rest until I tackle the whole thing as a finished first draft. By allowing myself to write out of order, I don’t get hung up because a scene is stuck. I just move on until I find the scene that needs whatever I have to give in that moment.

I’m fairly sure there will come a day when I’m stuck in every direction. At some point, the well has to run dry. But until then, I’m going to go on being, unexpectedly, a write-every-day kind of girl.

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