Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday, Monday ....

I woke up at 6:30 with a start, remembering that I'd forgotten a student's housewarming party yesterday. Then another friend--a former student--just wrote to me and scolded me (lovingly, I hope) for not posting something meaty to my blog. (I'm a vegetarian--what can I say?) He wants something controversial.

Well, what's controversial in my life is how I'm hardly working on my novel. Brian (Mr. Focus) thinks I should be able to avoid everything--mostly email; "I haven't checked my email in three years!" he says--and write fiction and just not think about the rest.

Dennis Palumbo said email is the death of writers. YES! We think, What did I do without email? But I remember my focus of yesteryear, when email was not on my radar screen.

Okay, here's my day. I wake up early, feed the cats, feed the fish, and if it's early enough--6:30, say, before the sun glares--I go for a walk. Got to keep the bulge at bay, but so far it's winning.

Back at home, I make a cup of tea. I add a drop of soymilk. And then I deal with emails.

And then....there's my parttime gig editing the ASJA Monthly (, which I'm on deadline for. There's the 2007 ASJA conference, which I'm cochairing. There's my online students at Gotham, there's my two workshops I teach privately. There's my web site, that needs updating, and my radio show, which I book. There's, of course, updating my blog. And there's more.

And there's my son, my number one priority. He's 11. When gets up, forget about writing fiction.

Yesterday I told Brian I think I need to rent an office. A room empty except for a desk. NO INTERNET ACCESS, no email. Maybe have a computer that stays there and it's only for fiction.

Actually, this is something else I've been thinking about doing: Opening a Writers Room-type place where people rent time/space to write. Only write.

I use a dayplanner and meet my deadlines. Fiction tends to be the thing that suffers. Brenda Ueland said writers need idling time, time to dawdle, meander about. I had that once. And it was great. My life is different now. I don't have idling time. But I also enjoy what I do and feel grateful to be able to make a living writing and teaching.

Or maybe it's that I'm at the 300 page mark and am losing interest in my story.

I sound confused. That's enough about me. Tell me about your discipline and how you are able to write fiction in the midst of your busy lives.

(This meaty enough for you, J?)


Jay said...

Marlene Dietrich called Hemingway for advice. She hadn't acted in a movie in quite some time and wanted a "meaty" role but was just being offered junk and thought she might accept something just to keep busy. "What do you think, Papa?" she asked Hemingway. "Don't confuse movement with action," he admonished her. Brian, (Mr. Focus)is right. Busy, busy isn't necessarily noble, noble

Amy said...

Coffee shops. They're my fiction-writing weapon. My laptop doesn't have wireless installed, deliberately. I get a lot of fiction writing done when I leave the house. Hard in the summer, though; I feel guilty leaving my kids behind, even though they're old enough to stay home alone (13 and 11). It's one thing to go away to work on paying work (I'm a freelance corporate writer by trade), but the so-far nonpaying work feels selfish. But, oh when September returns...

Lacy: Who Needs a Hat To Sing? said...

Oddly enough, I tend to be my most prolific when I'm running around with my hair on fire in other areas of my life. When I have time to write, I do other things -- like check email and read blogs. ;) But when I DON'T have time to write, I find myself scribbling a line here, a line there, while I'm at work, in the car, shopping at the mall, whatever. I guess that's just when my brain decides it's time to info-dump.

Leslea said...

I keep trying to comment on this one and the Gods have conspired against me, I think. What I want to say is this:

I want it SO BAD, I am driven by the thought of actually having completed the book in the manner and form of my imagination. To give it the proper treatment, to go through and read it that one last time before I am so thoroughly sick of it that I need not read it again for years...I want to immerse myself in its process and its completion in a way I have never attempted or achieved on any other project, and walk away going "Yeah, I knew I could do it."

I am so driven by that desire that when my personal version of Maslow's hierachy is taken care of, the first thing that enters my mind "next" is "work on the book--work on the book--work on the book."

I prayed at one point for God to awaken the fever in me to drive me to really REALLY write (instead of being addicted to blogging, like I used to be), and I guess perhaps that prayer might have had something to do with it. I don't know. All I know is that I am running with it, and I've never felt more *myself* than when I am writing, never felt more hopeful, desperate, lonely, elated, is all the intensity of falling in love, and it is completely and totally my ball of wax. My game. My call.

I love it.

Thank you for being a huge part of that.