Monday, June 18, 2012

Writer's notes...

Though a post may take only 4-7 minutes for you to read, it actually takes VBG about 3-6 hours over at least 2 days to complete. I like to allow my thoughts to marinate a bit before publishing, kind of like thinking about what you say in a fight - you can't take those words back so they'd better be the ones you intend and are willing to defend. I might write a page today and tomorrow none of what I wrote resonates any longer. Since I strive to be as authentic in this space as possible that just won't do. Despite the fact that I don't post weekly as I promised at the beginning of the year, at any given time I usually have several posts in the works.  What actually gets finished first has thus far depended  purely on what captured my attention in any given week but that's about to change.
People are trying to work here!!

At the urging of a friend who also happens to be our local librarian, my daughter and I attended the National Book Fair in DC last Fall.  We listened to several authors but I don’t recollect anything except what Terri McMillan said.  Yes, that Terri McMillan, the one who showed us How Stella Got her Groove Back. She had three main points that I remember:  write something every day, don't edit what you write while you do it and above all write for the love of it. Whether you get published, find fame or not musn't be the primary aim of a writer according to TM. Getting the words on paper are. When she said that I nudged my then 14 year old wunderkind.  She’s been writing almost incessantly since she could hold a pencil. I am constantly trying to point out to her that despite our celebrity obsessed culture, fame should not be the primary gauge with which we judge our happiness nor our success. Look how many scientists have contributed immensely to human longevity and well being yet we rarely ever find out their names.  But sadly most Americans can name ever member of the Kardashian clan who offer absolutely nothing in comparison. Nada, Zilch, Nuthin'!

I heeded TM's advice only as a reminder to journal more regularly because despite the existence of my blog I didn’t consider myself a writer. Blogs may seem to be a dime a dozen now but lots of the content is incredible stuff  - honest, insightful, humorous and thought provoking.  And you know who produces it - writers. So after some thought and very positive reception, these days I prefer to think of myself as a writer who produces in blog form rather than book.  

Anyway, over the last 8 months I've heard a few more times that daily writing is crucial.
So this morning, I dropped my car at the dealer for service and headed to Panera to write. I had just read an article in the latest copy of O about a writer who forced herself to commit to writing 2 hours a day, 5 days a week so I decided I'd commit to the same on Mondays and 1 hour Tuesday -Friday. Suffice it to say, nothing  much written in the first 2 hours -  I moved my seat twice (the first was less than ideal since my back was to the door - a remnant from the Godfather movies, I guess; then out of consideration I moved to a smaller table near one of the precious few outlets), made 3 cups of coffee but only drank two, spent a little time on FB, answered my bestie's latest email in detail, and unsubscribed myself from a number of companies in an attempt to not be inundated by offers for stuff I neither want nor need but could convince myself otherwise given the chance. For some reason today, the place was crawling with screaming babies, pun intended. When did this become the hangout for the pack ’n play crowd?  Then I got way too distracted by a very loud uber Mom. I could hear her every word even with my earbuds in!  Somebody needs to explain that whole inside voice thing to her - seriously. I know way too much about her life. Why didn't I move you say - because I already told you there are precious few outlets at this location. All these things but mostly the fact that I allowed myself to be so easily distracted are how one ends up not writing a syllable despite every intention to do the opposite.  

Had fortune not smiled upon me (in it's own way), you would not be are reading this post and wondering what the heck is she rambling on about. At about 11:30 though Panera shut a sista's wifi connection down. I used to come here at least once a week and work for  4 -6 hours straight on a bottomless cup of coffee and a single buttered bagel (the don't charge for butter and you get real dishes just like home). Back then I also rarely got as distracted as I did today. A lot can and did change in a year. Now they limit you to 30 minutes during their peak hours of 11 to 2 – wth?  So without further distraction, I was finally able to get down to business.

It is true, the more you do something the better you become. If I commit to writing just 1 hour a day, I'm certain it will  open new paths to flow. When I write it’s a lot like I feel when I'm traveling. Ladies and gentleman, I am in my element when traveling.  Few places or things frighten me and I'm open to just about anything!

Anyway, this post may seem rambling to you dear reader, and you definitely are precious to me, but to me it's signifies the beginning of my commitment to my writing.  And not a minute too soon as I was recently assigned the task of creating a company newsletter for work. I promise you this first version is awful. It displays little of verbal creativity but it does allow me the actual creation and application of the skills I learned in Adobe Illustrator class  last year even though the content obviously matters most. The subject matter neither flows for nor interests me I'm sorry to say but I am grateful for the opportunity get my creative juices flowing. 

Now you know why it takes some authors years to complete a book - the first draft is never the last and distractions abound for the scatter-brained and disciplined alike. I may not be headed down the published path but if I remain consistent, we are both assured at the very least of some bigger, better, kick ass posts in the future.


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