A couple months ago I mentioned that I had started writing again. I had been blogging. I had been reading. But writing was waiting. I hadn’t found the time, used the time, or took the time–whatever fits–to write. In October I had a conversation with Marisel Vera after she posted a few essays on Intersections, and I wrote daily after that chat.
After those months of consistent writing, I took a break for one month. I got tired. I had the holidays to deal with. I had to finish a semester at GETS, gathering grades and having final meetings. We had planning and things at the church. So it was a good time overall to pause.
My head was still working, but my fingers hadn’t been. I did some relevant-to-my-work-in-progress reading. I asked some questions to a few friends, questions which are behind some of my characters’ behaviors. I told folks that I was giving my unconscious a break, and it was actually the most misleading statement I could say about my writing process. In fact, my unconscious has still been working. It’s been grateful for the respite in key-punching if only because it wanted to flash images across my eyes, pull me into one or two critical scenes and not let me out easily.
The work has been different for the last month. I’ve been anxious. I’ve questioned how much pausing and thinking and reflecting and researching and interviewing were, indeed, a part of my writing process and whether it actually counted as writing. It has counted. At least so far as I can tell as I look forward. Every writer writes like this, including words and impressions and sights in, behind, and underneath the actual words in the story.
I’m restarting that part of writing which is really writing today. You may hear me reading my written words aloud. You may see me muttering over words when my laptop isn’t around. I might swipe your spiral bound journal and borrow a blank page. Don’t assume I’ve lost my bearings. I may be remembering something, on my way to a pen and a moleskin, alarmed that my memory may relax for an hour.
Starting today I’ll give myself a word count, though the count will be less than the 1,000 words per day I had done for the last round. I’ll work to meet it daily, breaking once per week and trying not to give myself any more off days until something like a first draft presents.
If you pray, pray for me that I’ll write well, that I’ll tell my story with integrity and depth and humor and all those other important parts. If you don’t pray, hope for me. That would be extremely generous.