Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No such thing as perfect

The irony of writing as “full time job” is that you rarely get to spend a full day just... writing. Not only do we still have to do everything that other working people have to do--cook dinner, grocery shop, take kids/parents to the doctor, plus all the other things we take on because have a flexible schedule--there are also the non-writing parts of a writer’s job--blogging, tweeting, email to agents/editors/reviewers/bookstores/fans, organizing publicity, plus rewriting/editing/copy-editing, too. 
But on the rare occasions when I do have no other than writing commitments, here is my dream work day: 
Get up, have a cup of coffee and a bowl of low fat yogurt and fresh fruit delivered on the backs of hummingbirds. 
Sip coffee while I write my blog and answer e-mail (all of which I keep up with daily and never let lapse). 
Exercise by walking my perfectly behaved dogs through a sun-kissed, breeze-cooled morning in the park, while squirrels frolic and birds sing. 
Come home and after a rose-water bath, ensconce myself on my writing sofa with the laptop and a never-ending supply of hot tea and healthful snacks. 
Spend the rest of the day writing fresh new pages without second guessing or over-editing myself, only moving forward, never backward. 
Cook a gourmet supper with herbs and vegetables from the organic, self-sustaining garden in my back yard. 
Chat with the family or watch an hour or so of my favorite TV shows before going back for a few more hours of work before hitting the hay--not too late, since sleep refreshes the mind for the next day’s work!
But what really happens is more like this: 
Oversleep because I worked too late the night before. Or played Portal 2. Whatever. 
Down a mug of coffee and a toaster poptart. Answer overdue mail. Look at blog and decide last week’s post is good enough for another week. 
Follow Google Alerts to a nasty review of last book. Console self with mint chocolate chip ice cream and another cup of coffee. 
Put on workout clothes.  Do not go work out. 
Sit down to write.  Stare at blank screen and remember nasty review. Worry I don’t know what I’m doing. 
Write one page.  
Let dogs out. 
Rewrite same page. 
Let dogs in. 
Write one new page. 
Clean up after dog who did not do her business while outside. 
Throw out previous page and write new one. Fed Ex man arrives. Dogs go crazy. 
Write one paragraph. Neighbor’s lawn service arrives. Dogs go crazy. 
Make brownies from box mix. Eat them straight from pan. 
Browse Internet. Call it “research.” 
Give family scrambled eggs and brownies for dinner. (What? Brownies have milk, eggs and flour in them. It’s nutritious.)
Go back to office after everyone is asleep and write until 2 am. 
Repeat next day. 
But really, this is a pretty good day. I wrote. I didn’t let self-doubt completely conquer me. And no matter what pulled me away, I went back to work after. 
There really is no good time start writing, and plenty of excuses not to. And believe me, I’ve used them ALL. The fact is, if I let myself wait for a perfect writing day--an uninterrupted, unscheduled, uncommitted day--I’ll never write. The same could be said in a broader sense. You’re never too young, too old, too busy, too slow, too anything to write. If you write one page a day, you’ll have a book in a year.
So in the immortal words of the goddess Nike: Just do it.  
Now all I have to do is follow my own advice! 

6 comments:

  1. Browse Internet. Call it “research.”

    LOL. Doing it as we speak!

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  2. Ha! Caught you, Patrice! :D (Also, so am I!)

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  3. Thanks, guys! I have to laugh at how similar Tara and Joy's posts have been. We all struggle with the same issues, and everyone deals differently.

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  4. Fun post. I've a great fear that if I ever do get a chance to work on writing full time horrible things will happen and I won't get any more done than I do now! lol

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