Thursday, January 20, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing? (Musings on the art of writing)

I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for a solid fifteen minutes staring at the vertical cursor blinking insistently at me from the blank screen.  I’m clueless as to what today’s blog post should be about.  I don’t have much to say, but I feel that I should say something.  After all, I should have something monumental or miniscule that I want to share with the world today.  Right?
Sure, I’ve got lots of ideas floating around my mind.  Maybe a book review for one of the many Sci-Fi books I’d just read, or maybe a movie review on one of my recent rentals, or possibly a reflection on MLK’s words in honor of the recent holiday or even an analysis of Cicero’s “Treatise on Friendship” if all else fails.  But, none of these ideas sound appealing in the least.
It seems criminal though, to take up a modicum of cyberspace with just any sort of nonsensical babble.  So, if I am going to post something today, as I desperately want to, shouldn’t my writing hold at least half an ounce of value to someone out there? 
With that, the metaphoric light bulb goes on.  I suddenly realize that there’s a very valid reason for my lethargy.  No, I’m not feeling lazy or unproductive or unwilling to dig a little deeper today.  It finally dawns on me that I am just all “written out.” 
For the past three weeks, a friend and I have been hard at work at JaNoWriMo.  Essentially, beginning January 1st we committed ourselves to creating our own version of National Novel Writing Month (normally held in November and known as NaNoWriMo).  The only rule we had to remember was that we would begin with a novel idea and commit to writing about 1,650 words a day so that by the end of the month we would have a nicely-packed approximately 50,000 word manuscript as a starting point to build upon.  Oh, and one other stipulation—we’re not allowed to read anything that we’ve written until the month is over.
And so the month began with ups and downs.  There were days where the words literally flew off my fingers and onto the page of their own volition.  Characters basically created themselves and complicated plot twist were resolved completely on their own.  And of course there were days where the only words that filled the page were long lines of “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.” 
As we pass the midpoint of the month, I’m beginning to understand the magic of forcing out “unforced” writing.  You may decide to set an egg timer for uninterrupted writing time, or get a little less sleep, or type away at your laptop while waiting to pick up your kids afterschool.  No matter what way works best for you, “finding time” to write that novel is the only way our stories will ever be told.
True, I may never want to write again after January 31st—but I highly doubt that.  As another good friend once told me-- “If you write, you are a writer.”  And the writer in me refuses to quit.  With that bit of wisdom, today’s blog post comes to a close, and I realize how painless the writing really was and how enjoyable the journey.  J


  1. Great post Suzy, JaNoWriMo, yes!

    I can't wait to find out where this month's journey took your characters!

  2. You didn't give my whole quote. If you pick your nose, you are a nose picker. If you write, you are a writer. But it sounded nicer when you said it. :) Suzi