Friday, January 8, 2010

Writing on becoming a writer

I was completing my intentions for 2009 a few days ago, one was to write. Last year began like so many others- this year I will write. This year I did!

Shortly after publishing that post about writing I came across National Novel Writing Month. 3am on the first of November I decided to take on writing more each day than I had ever before, 50,000 words for the month. November also found my birthday, Thanksgiving and a move for me which provided more than enough excuses for not sitting down. Really, I got stuck on one scene and character, never forgave her, couldn't go back. By the end of the month I was just shy of 28,000 words and while not having finished the challenge was quite impressed with myself.

Later, after I had some time to recover from writing 1666 words a day, I had several moments of masochism- no inspiration thought I'd try it again in January. Here is January 8 and my word count is at zero. I'm less obsessed this time. I am here writing instead of opening a new document and looking at that blank page.

Those two months changed my paradigm about writing and my life. November and December took writing someday off the calendar and made it today. I added writer's blogs to my igoogle (formerly just food blogs and craigslist ads) and am savoring the sensual experience of reading a book more than I ever have before. The first sentence, the feel of the book, the smell of the book, the weight of the book. The energy of the previous readers and their fingers on each page.

Now instead of only being overwhelmed at the grocery store I look for characters. Those people around me with repetitive conversations or even monologues where I wonder if I need to be present for this person to talk, now I ask them about their lives and wonder how I can incorporate them as a character. For example, the female , tequila drinking, scripture quoting, tattooed, jealous swearing neighbor- that one I cannot help but find a whole story.

Maybe, according to Elizabeth Gilbert that we find genius or have a muse, not that we are or are not genius. Maybe the issues with so many writers is that they began to relate to themselves as being genius, not having it. Julie Powell writes of butchering animals and cheating on her husband, maybe revealing some tidbits about very secretive, Scorpio self doesn't have to be so painful.

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