Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Write by Not Writing

Okay, so, I'm working on a new novel at the moment because my previous three were such blockbuster hits and the world can't get enough of me. You asked for a fourth novel world (actually, just my mom) and now you're going to get it.

The problem is . . . I don't especially want to write it. I just want it to be written. I also don't want to cook supper tonight. I just want it to be cooked. And in case you're wondering, no, I don't want to go to Pilates tomorrow. I just want to magically have sculpted arms and a flat belly.

Alas, life is not that simple.

I know what you're thinking—all that, "the joy is in the doing," crap and "peace can be found in simple things." I maybe could get behind that, but it's graduation season and I am over motivational speeches for a while. Check me in August and see how I feel. Right now, if I read another post on Facebook that summarizes Oh the Places You Will Go, I'm going to vomit.

So tonight, First Son was at soccer tryouts with Husband, and Second Son and Daughter were immersed in TV (don't worry, it was educational!), so I thought I would tackle the novel that doesn't want to be written.

I wrote a few paragraphs of my characters walking around, scratching their butts, and complaining about the weather just because I felt like I needed to do SOMETHING with these people I've created. I've written about a hundred pages and I was starting to feel like I left them all hanging off a cliff with the promise that I would come back at a later date and rescue SOME of them, not sure who just yet.

I felt sick with myself and my boring pages and I slammed the laptop shut (don't tell Husband) and decided that I was done writing. Not only was I done writing this novel, but I was done writing in general. Hopefully my kids won't need any more sick notes for school, because I'm not going to write them! They will have to have unexcused absences, because I HATE writing and I'm never, ever writing another word for as long as I live!

I go through this from time to time. I know, it's disgusting. Usually, what gets me out of it is physical activity of some sort, but unfortunately, I decided last week that I was done with running. Not only was I done with running for exercise, but I was done with running in general. In fact, if I am ever chased by a big man with a knife, he's going to have no problem catching me because I HATE running and I'm never, ever running for as long as I live!

So, I went into the living room and cuddled with Second Son who tries to pretend to be a big tough seven-year-old, but is really a big soft teddy bear who loves his Mommy. I held him and watched Sesame Street, breathing in, breathing out, doing one of the things that I was truly meant to do in this life—love my children. Who cared if I was stuck on a scene? Who cared if every word I typed was dull? What did that matter? It was words, pixels, maybe ten people would read it if I was lucky. Second Son would touch countless lives (Hopefully not with his fists—he can be a rowdy little thing).

An image came to my mind unbidden—two of my characters, hanging on so tight to that cliff where I left them, in a tender moment. The scene presented itself fully formed, dialogue and punctuation already in place. I actually cried as I wrote it like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone.

Peace can be found in simple things. Huh.