Book Update #3

Still true today

Another relic from my parents’ place: I found this drawing in the journal I kept when I was 19 years old and started having consistent internet access (I know, I can’t believe I used to illustrate my diary. I had so much time back then.) This could have easily been drawn today, but the picture dates itself: look at that computer! It’s so big. The screen is a massive cube.

I mention email in that comic, but these days it’s probably Twitter. Email has now become more functional – a vehicle to make plans or discuss important things rather than send or receive idle missives.

So, let’s see what Twitter has revealed about my recent writing habits:

Ok, enough with the holidays, I really need to get back to writing.
2:43 PM Jan 2nd from web

I was stern and disciplined at the beginning of the new year.

Rewriting a story that’s 3 yrs old. I find myself grasping at the old story, but I’ve gotta kill that darling to really make it work. RIP.
4:00 PM Jan 10th from web

The stories I’m having the most difficulty with these days are the ones that are older and need to be rewritten. The new stories are fresh enough that I can play with them without getting bored. An old story, on the other hand, one that’s gone through various revisions already, is a different beast. An older beast, one that’s a little creaky, a little reluctant to change. I find myself gutting paragraphs and story lines I felt very strongly about at one point. It’s kind of vicious.

Listening to The National too much and feeling annoyingly swoony. Swooniness isn’t good for writing. In fact, swooniness = bad writing.
9:41 PM Jan 19th from web

This can sum up the state of my writing this week. I don’t know what it is – I made minimal plans so that I could stay home and write in the evenings, but I kept finding myself getting distracted by, say, laundry or vacuuming the dust collected underneath the sofa cushions (wha?) or, as noted above, by listening to music that inspires sappiness, which unfortunately doesn’t translate into good, robust writing.
So, I spend a lot of my self-imposed writing time procrastinating. I’m trying to reconcile that procrastination goes hand in hand with a healthy writing life, and if not a healthy life, then at least a normal one. We all do this. I can see you through the computer screen reading this blog entry instead of doing the writing you were supposed to do. Caught you!

I’m trying to comfort myself with the fact that procrastination is not simply avoiding writing. Rather, I’m giving my subconscious the space to figure things out on its own. I know this works because it happens to me at work. I will be trying to resolve an accounting issue and eventually my head will start to hurt from thinking about it so much. I’ll go home for the evening, get on with the rest of my life, and when I get to work the next morning, the answer appears as if by magic. But it’s not magic, it was the little monkeys in the back of my brain chugging along while I made dinner and tried to work on my book. This happens less so with my writing because I don’t think I detach from writing life the way I detach from work. I don’t necessarily give my brain the space to breathe. Maybe?

One thought on “Book Update #3

  1. I think it's important to give your brain a break every once in a while, from any endeavour that requires a lot of thought. Of course, mixing that with the discipline required to really force yourself to write at regular intervals must be difficult to balance. Maybe scheduled days to write and scheduled days off? I like following your book-writing process/progress. Let me know if you need an outside reader.

    xx Caro

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