I think my word count from last week totals somewhere between 54 and 432.
The paltry amount of writing I’ve done hit me full force Saturday morning on the way to pick up my car from the downtown parking garage where I’d left it, unintentionally, the night before.
My nasty inner voice — the one with the riding crop and no sense of humor — started in on me right away.
What happened to all those hours you scheduled JUST for writing this week? It sneered, plastering screenshots of my color-coded editorial calendar to the backs of my eyeballs.
You couldn’t even manage an hour a day for something you say you love? You’re not a writer. You’re a pretender. You’re a fucking failure. Who the hell do you think you are, telling people you’re ‘working on a book’?!? Just give up, already.
…and a lot more really supportive stuff I should probably write down, in case I ever want to feature a dominatrix in one of the books I swear I’m writing.
What the riding-crop weilding bitch’s voice didn’t take into account when she taunted me with images of that calendar is that I color-code everything I need to make room for in my life. Writing gets red, because it’s my priority (usually), but time with Friends and Family gets a bright, twinkling blue. It’s in direct contrast with the red to remind me that living has to happen if I want to do any quality writing — and vice versa.
Last week’s calendar was light on the red because it was exploding with blue. I made it to five out of six of the celebrations for two birthday girls (my mother and my daughter); danced while my braver friends sang at an all-night karaoke event; helped out at a charity gig; met up with an “I’m only in town for one night, you have to come out with me” friend; and stumbled into about eight other epic things that happened.
By the time the peer pressure got heavy to go to the next party on Saturday night, my feet were screaming at me to burn all my high heels and my body was on its knees begging me to give up and go to bed. I swear it was past 2 a.m., but my phone insisted it was only 9:30 p.m. Sunday was a lot calmer, but it was still one of those days where you leave the house for brunch and get back nine hours later.
I wrote somewhere between 54 and 432 words last week, and I’m okay with that.
You know why? Because, I am a writer. In the recesses of my mind, I have recorded every minute of every event, every song, every conversation, every change of scenery, and every comic mishap. This week, as I sit down to create and develop the settings and characters and conversations that bring my book to life, I will draw on last week’s antics. My writing will be better because of it — the people will be more interesting, the places more colorful, and the plot more twisted.
The ultimate fantasy for a lot of writers is to get away from life for a while and hunker down in a secluded location. We yearn to be left alone with our imaginations, our laptops, and an endless flow of caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages. Add some food on hand that doesn’t require thought, let alone preparation, and we just know we would be in a writer’s paradise.
But isolation is not the secret to success, not if it’s the norm, not for me.
I need a life full of the strange and exciting that happen when I say, “YES!” When I make sure my calendar is alive with red and blue, then I know I am committed to being the best kind of writer I can be.
On the flipside of the argument I’m making that you have to live to write is the neat little consequence of sitting down to actually write this blog post: I now have a dominatrix to add to my bank of characters and a plot thread beginning to pick up speed in my head.
Cheers to another week of living and writing!