Day 305 – Slow & Steady

My long project is moving along slowly and thoughtfully. I’ve been bolstered by my classmates. We’ve been so generous with one another. It feels good. I’m getting braver too to say what I mean and state my opinions and offer up advice on how to flesh out or restructure a manuscript to a group of women writers who are older than me. That bravery is paying off too. Not only are my classmates thanking me for my input, it’s improving my own work too. When I write, I write intuitively and every time I get something good, it feels like luck, a fluke. Definitely not something I can replicate. But after critiquing my classmates manuscript, I’m not sure that entirely true. I definitely calculate details through my manuscript, subtle little...

Day 299 – The Other Writer

There is another writer who works at the same cafe as me in the mornings. He shows up everyday with freshly disheveled hair and a pep in his step that is reminiscent of Irish Spring commercials that aired during the 80’s. He clip clops along at his keyboard like a goddamn show pony, tossing his mane every time he checks a scene off his list (HE HAS A CHECKLIST YOU GUYS) and I hate him a little bit. I imagine he churns out thousands of words while I sit staring at strangers wondering if I can manage another paragraph by day’s end. I don’t know what he’s writing, a book, a screen play, a graduate thesis (most likely not as he does not have the haggard look of indentured servitude)? I just know from passing his computer screen that he’s...

Day 294 – The Hardest Thing

Sometimes you get lucky and write a scene so powerful it makes you cry. Then you show it to other people and when they cry too, you know that you’ve written truth in its purest form and you wonder if you can carry it through the whole piece. Truth is a delicate creature. Starting the next scene in the wake of such a power scene is the hardest thing. That’s where I am today. Puzzling over the next scene that seems so flaccid in comparison. I’m picking over words, questioning the gravity and frivolity of each. The concoction that came before came intuitively. I don’t know the recipe.  I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born....

Day 292 – Truth

Writing after receiving a glowing critique is just as hard as writing after a harsh one. The different is that instead of wallowing in dejection your giddy and wondering how you’ll ever pull it off again and you do want to pull it off again because carrying the weight of a good critique is so much pleasurable than the weight of a bad one. There’s a danger in a good critique though. Your head swells a little and your inner Veruca Salt can take over screaming I’M BRILLIANT! to drown out the nice, humble writer voice in your head saying Don’t let it go to your head. Writing is still hard, even brilliant writers have to try. Don’t stop trying. Anyway, it’s a battle. The part of me that wants to sit smugly on my laurels like...

Day 289 – Thankful

Wednesday night, my memoir class critiqued the first 20 or so pages of my memoir and I just have to say I am so lucky to have found this group of people to share my work with. Everyone was very encouraging and a couple of women in class really, really understand the dynamic I’m portraying. They get it, they get it, they get it and I’m so relieved because writing feels like such a foolish endeavor most days, a labor of love at best. Reading over everyone’s notes again this morning made all the work worthwhile. My words made someone feel something. People, who don’t love me and didn’t have to say anything nice, said nice things! They had suggestions for improvement too, several of which I plan to use during revision, some not....

Day 285 – Consistency

Being consistent is important. Consistently performing a task turns the task into a habit. Habits are mostly automatic behaviors, they’re a given, something that does not require a whole lot of willpower or thought. Turning writing into a habit is very important when you’re working on a book length project because long projects are hard. Most days I wake up uninspired and at a loss about the next step. The last thing I need to do is fight with myself about writing itself, which is part of the reason I write first thing in the morning even though I feel guilty for not walking my dog first because she wakes up with such great expectations of frolics in the park that she can barely contain her wiggles. It kills me, closing the door on her happy feet,...