Friday, January 11, 2008

The best gift

Today was the first day I got to enjoy the best gift in the world--writing time. Yes, my mother-in-law stepped up to the plate and is taking the little girl off of my hands each and every Friday. After dropping her at her morning preschool at 9:30 I have about 5 hours of time in which to write before I have to go get my bigger boy from his school at 2:45.

Guess what I had forgotten?
Fiction writing is fun!

Guess what else I discovered?
I am very rusty. It has been a long time since I let my imagination be free. My brain is so used to multitasking with the small people and trying to keep five thoughts active at the same time that sitting down and focusing on one thing, one story, with no other demands felt really weird. But weird in a good way. Hopefully this regular Friday time will make me more able to turn on the writing mind when I have less time during the week.

So today I started working what I've laid out as my goal: by year's end, I'd like to have written a fairly complete draft of a YA (or children's) novel.

I'm proud of myself in that I didn't let myself get distracted by my surroundings--the house is still a sty, there isn't anything in the house for dinner tonight, my legs have not received the exercise that they really want (and they are getting a little twitchy now), and I haven't been reading all the wonderful blogs I follow.

What I did do was have a grand time naming characters, describing locations, outlining the movement of the plot and planning significant scenes, and doing some character studies.

But perhaps the biggest thing I did today was I gave myself permission to fuck up and make a royal mess of it. There is nothing more stifling than overvaluing your own labor. God knows that I'm not a perfectionist in other areas of my life, but perhaps because I read so much and am so used to cohesive, finished stories, it has been difficult for me to picture a novel as starting out messily. As soon as I told myself that what I write down can be flawed because it is a draft and there will be plenty of time for changes later, the words, ideas, and images started to flow. For all I know, next week I'll think up an even better idea for a novel and I'll chuck everything I wrote today. And that'll be ok because I've decided I am going to enjoy the process, and value all of it, not just the parts that end up in the final product.


Joanne said...


Permission to let yourself make a mess on paper is so vital when writing. Maybe why I haven't done it for a while...

I like your goal. It's a good goal but even if you don't make it you won't have screwed up* - you'll still have more words than if you'd never made it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Free Fridays For Fiction time (FFFF), and here's wishing you much success.

I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and really enjoy your posts -- seeing as I share in 3 out of the 4 obsessions you list. (I'm not much one for crafting, but my wife and our young children love it.)

I thought it was time to tip my hand and say hello, from an old acquaintance, but the public comment section is not the best forum for all the greetings & salutations. (Plus, I couldn't find your email address.) So I'll leave this cryptic message, it shouldn't be too hard for you to figure me out.
Greetings from the city of Heinrich & Kunigunde --
"G. Gibbs"