Thursday, April 24, 2008

Does It Ever Get Easier?

Okay, time to break out the big guns. I’m not working at a day job right now and so have all kinds of time to write. But am I writing? I’m doing a lot of thinking about writing, but not much actual work. I have the idea, the outline, the characters are starting to whine, so what do I do?

Here’s the deal. It comes down to making a commitment. I’ve written a novel, and now I know what it takes. I know that a big piece of myself went into my first novel. I’d love to see it published, but, even if it never is, I am so glad I wrote it. The novel was a journey into my imagination and was full of magic. But it’s also a piece of me.

This next novel will command an even bigger piece of me. I already know it. I’m frozen because I am afraid. Can I tell this story? Can I tell it honestly, without regard to the audience? Can I bind and gag my internal editor long enough to let it flow and get it out?

Quite simply, I must.

I need to keep moving. I need to do two things. First, I need to finish cleaning and organizing my house, create a space to write. I realized today that the clutter around here contributes to my inability to concentrate. Or am I just making another excuse? No, I think it does.

I was having my hair done today. For me, hair dressers are all better than the best of therapists, and they’re only about a third the price. So, I was having my hair done today, and I was trying to explain this to her. She didn’t get it, but she listened. I said that to start a novel and not finish it would be like starting to build a structure in your backyard but never finishing it. Every time you go outside, the friggin thing is out there. You have to walk over it every time you go to get in your car. It’s big, it’s messy, and it’s loud. As I was talking, I suddenly had a flash in my head of the clutter of my house. There are papers everywhere. I’ve started to clear it up and organize it, but I haven’t finished. It’s in exactly the same state as the outline of my novel. The outline is well underway but it’s lying in files and in my head like the fragments of paper all over my house.

I told Terri to cut my hair short, and I resolved to go home and move through the tasks in front of me. Debbie Strom always used to tell me to just do what's in front of me. Amazing how simple that is and how well it works.

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