Thursday, November 23, 2006

PS (In response to KT's comment)

Maybe listening would be a better word than waiting....the book is always in my mind: characters are chattering away, the plot gets livelier or tighter, a new scene comes.... sometimes I'm just mulling something over, or trying to figure something out.

I usually wake up with ideas--I scribble them down while I'm having breakfast. Then I might go for a walk, ride my bike, or just putter around the house -- I really don't know WHAT I do in the morning and I think I waste a lot of time. But maybe it's not wasted. Who knows. At some point, though, I sit down at my computer and get to work. The actual work part is where things happen, but nothing good gets written unless I put the quiet time in first.

Once I'm actually working, I don't usually waste a lot of time (unless it's a distracted day and I DO have those: I think someone described them here a few months ago). At this point, I'm no longer waiting. By the time I sit down at my desk, I know what I want to say and the time at the computer is for saying it. Often -- usually, even -- while I'm working more details -- or better ways of doing things -- pop into my mind, and that is a rush.

But for this to happen, I need some kind of routine and stability -- money worries and big decisions are particularly deadly. I think one reason it's sometimes so hard for me to get started on a book is that once I am IN this routine, leaving it is quite disruptive. I don't want to see friends. I don't want to go anywhere. Sometimes I don't even want to wash my hair or get dressed! And this is of course an isolated way to live-- and I think pretty common for artist of all kinds: maybe not. But it is a dilemna for some of us: how do you balance things?


Anonymous said...

Balance things?

I don't think I do. It is hard to quiet the inner critic and she shows up to criticize my lifestyle choices (not seeing friends as often as I should) as well as criticizing my work.

I heard a lecture by John McPhee several years ago. He spoke of going to work in the morning but not actually getting started until 4:30 in the afternoon, at which point he was so alarmed at an entire day going by without anything being accomplished that he worked very hard until 7:00. The story comforted me, as does the description of your work day. I do believe the quiet time is important.

It was fun to find your post this morning. I didn't expect it.

Happy Thankgiving!


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