This is what I’ve written today.
I smile for the fact that it’s a simple sunrise pleasure: wrapped up in a blanket on the deck, drinking coffee, and creating words. I laugh that, for calling myself a writer, this is pretty much the most I’ve written in a few weeks.
I turned to my files after my early game of Porch Scrabble to find a list of writing ideas. I know it exists: a document with idea after idea. I find a file under the 2018 tab, “Collection of Writing Ideas.” For half of the contents, I have no idea what the “idea” for writing was supposed to be.
“Just red nails, please”?
“A sheep’s brain: fat, glucose, and PROTEIN”?
“The right equipment to get the job done”?
And, for the other half, I’ve already written about them. I close this file and continue looking.
I find “Prolific Writer in 2018.” It’s not a list of ideas, but rather a piece of my own writing that I needed to read today. It was written only as a journal entry at the end of 2017, but I found it pertinent to today with Fall 2019, and a familiar routine, just around the corner.
Prolific writer. There, the first two words on a Word document for the New Year 2018. Published author. The second two words. Let Linda Malcolm blossom on paper and in book stores!
When I consider the most challenging part of writing, it’s the moment when inspiration seizes me and the moment I sit down to write about it: They are two different moments sometimes separated by days. What if I shortened the distance between those moments? Perhaps to within a 12-hour period? A 24-hour period? Some writers have the goal of writing at least 1,000 every day. Could I do that?
The moment of inspiration is rarely paired with the Tuesday sitting at the library. I take photos to remind me of the moment. But sometimes the richness of thought just can’t be invoked on Tuesday morning at 9:15. If I don’t capture that thought immediately, it will hang around more like a ghost than a tangible idea with which to move forward the next time I write.
I say I have little problem with writer’s block. I have jotted notes in journals, scraps, pretty note papers everywhere. However, when I revisit them, I’m often left conjuring up what that original feeling was. What was it that I did want to say?
…The door to the office just opened… the concentration snapped… I regroup and continue…
The thing with writing is that it’s not like a concrete, finite job with a linear line between points A and B. It dances around a bit – sometimes as a slow waltz, a hopping fox trot, an energized swing. And like dancing, once in the swing of it, my body wants to keep going for a couple hours, with perhaps a breather or two in the middle. But always with the rhythm of the music in the background filling the space in between my ears and my brain.
Yet, I can’t produce essay after essay, hour after hour. This year, I look for balance between the writing and the moving of a work to the public domain. I acknowledge that marketing, web design, book cover design, editing, and polishing is all part of the writing, now publishing, process. And yet, the writer must sustain. Must write. Must find time to fall into the flow. That’s it… the flow.
And there are times when flow is broken by the world like a dog continually pissing on a fire hydrant next to the writing desk. The artistic thought wavers and nearly extinguishes under the gray and black clouds hovering at 10,000 feet and too frequently dipping down as lurking, thick fog. Then something brutal happens… the scenes when dementors suck the living essence from Harry Potter’s body and he’s left small and lifeless on the ground, until re-invigorated by sweet chocolate. That’s what it feels like: the blackness sucks the work, the flow, the inspiration, leaving a hollowness that is absolutely uncharacteristic to an artistic being.
I purposefully step into a brighter spot. I turn inward and rekindle the flame of caring, loving, kindness, and thinking. I stop the spinning gray tornado ripping through – or perhaps I give it a good powerful blow to push it beyond the boundaries of my sanctuary. Go blow and obliterate elsewhere. Mine is mine. At such a small, familiar level, mine will be maintained as such. With goodness and light within reach and needed now. Where we toil a bit more to achieve, but through this work, it’s more appreciated. Douse the negative, fan the affirmative.
In other words, go to the library, Linda.
The goal of 1,000 words… Could I do this every day? The making of 1,000 words? How would my essay writing routine change? Would the essays grow out of wanderings and ponderings such as these? Would they write themselves within if given the chance?
For now, 642 words.
The mechanics’ update of publishing Cornfields to Codfish:
My manuscript is still in “content review.” Going on week three of waiting.
I’ve settled on this photo as my author photo for my book cover.
My friend and designer is working on the design of the back cover.
Chugging along toward publication some time this fall.