Sunday, August 17, 2008

How to fill the space that creates my life?

Here I sit again. Sunday.

About to start "working"
yesterday concerned trying to figure out the proper way to do someone's thoughts, and speech that happens in a paragraph that is already in quotations. Different sources gave different answers. But I did reach a decision, so, whatever..fine.
I don't know why I am having trouble getting all of my type to be the same font and size, but even when I highlight it, and attempt to switch it over, there are problems. So that is frustrating. And that is how I felt most of yesterday, and last night, when I finally put it aside.

I've been thinking a lot about this writing thing. While I still have plenty of work to do on this rough draft, and then edits, I am already looking back over the process and trying to decide if this is something I will continue to spend my time doing. I find it to be a big commitment, and one that might yield no usuable results; one that others (non-writing others) can not often appreciate the time, energy and effort that goes into.

I could spend my life doing this, writing, and never have anything publishable, or published; I could never have anything that others, family, friends, neighbors, would see as anything, as an accomplishment. I could spend my life doing this with no reward, no positive outcome, but that which I myself gain from the process.

And I find right now that the process asks a lot of me. Maybe it is just because this is my first time, maybe it will change over time. Maybe eventually it will be easy to be fully present and engaged in my writing for several hours each day, and then be fully engaged and present with the other aspects of my life for the rest of the day, and not think at all about the writing. I don't know. But right now, I am all in, or out. It is either consuming almost all of my thoughts and time, or I have wandered and am not working on it at all. My concept of time changes when I am on task, TV, family, the weather outside, they all sit at a distance, and I observe them through the lens of writing activity. They are muffled, unclear, and I push them back further, as they distract me (like jangly little bells, or incessantly tapping fingers) from what I am trying to do, and I can't fully push the writing out of my mind, so I can't hear them well even when I try.

July was all writing, it did not exist for me much outside of that. Is that what it will be like for me, if I keep writing? Does everything become a bit altered? As words and ideas, claim attention away from physical surroundings.

Maybe this is just because I am new to this. Maybe it is just because that is what it takes for me to get anything done right now. (what if this is what it takes for me to get anything done ever?)

I told my husband my concerns, and he said "What else are you going to do? The time is going to pass anyway, might as well spend it trying to do something that matters to you." ( I guess he has given up on the dream of the wife who prepares full course meals. And as I have a tendency to mentally drift, I am sure he considers writing better than perpetual daydreaming. And as long as writing takes precedence over hobbies, like gardening, he will be buying pens, notebooks, and paper, as opposed to endless amounts of plants, soil, gardening supplies, and decorations)

So anyway, that is what I am thinking about. The price of trying to be something. Of spending hours, days, weeks, years, pouring oneself into a particular activity. And I am asking myself "When I finish working on this story, do I set it down, and immediately pick up the next one and spend the next year working on that? Year in and year out, working on stories? Is this my life from now on? Is this how it will look and feel?"

I don't like the surrendering to it of my time, my life, of having it feel different than it used to. However, I may have already walked too far into it to walk back out. Purposely pushing the writing aside for several days, so I could be more present and available for my husband and son, I felt this vague empty feeling. I wasn't mentally working on something, trying to work it through and figure it out, I had set that aside, shut it out, so my mind wasn't being called toward anything. I didn't like the nothing-ness of this. I was devoid and felt the void.

I mean in some ways I don't have a choose, ideas they come and visit, and then set up camp inside me, but there is a difference between having them around as some extra presence in my life, a plant, some throw pillows, and that of fully engaging with them, trying to get them all down on paper, searching, digging, filling the story in, writing to the best of my ability, and then always feeling the need to reach, to increase my abilities for it; that is a room, a space, I live in.

so I sit here now, looking as deep as I can into my own future, asking "How shall I fill thee?"


strugglingwriter said...

I've felt all the things you describe. However, I've told myself I won't give up until I finish a novel, even if it takes me 100 years. Otherwise, I'll never know if I can do it or not.

If I do finish the novel and it's crap, at least I'll know I tried.

Taffiny said...


Yeah. I agree, that is definitely where I stand on this one. No matter how long it takes, no matter how bad it might be, it must reach completion. But as I am approaching finish of the first rough draft, I am wondering if when I am done (editing, editing editing. I wonder how long that will take?) if I should dive right into the next story.

Yes, I almost have one possibly total crap novel under my belt. Should I spend my life creating company for it? Hmm...I am starting to think the answer is yes, that is how I wish to spend my days. I just have to learn how to make that a certain amount of time, a certain number of hours in the day, and then be fully present to my life, and those around me, during the rest of each day. (hopefully I will learn to do that over time)