Posts Tagged ‘writing like its my job oh wait it is’

Week 2: Fulfilling a small dream

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

BPL

When I first visited Boston Public Library, I always imagined that that was where I would sit and write great, brilliant thoughts. A courtyard! A cafe! An enormous, quintessential study room complete with green glass reading lamps, big oak desks, ceiling high bookshelves, and wifi. I’m not the only one admiring the space… what you can’t see in this photo is the large crowd of elderly tourists to my right, listening to a docent discuss the architectural features and the history of the statue in the center of the fountain.

This was my office yesterday. It was a beautiful, surreal experience to be working on my writing in a place I dreamed I would sit and work on my writing. I took the commuter rail into Back Bay, camped out in the BPL’s courtyard with a cup of iced tea for several hours, then met a friend for an extended lunch. We sat out in the sunshine in front of Trinity Church. Then I took the train home, reading the final chapters of Heat by Bill Buford. I don’t think I was as focused as I would have liked to be, but it was a good journey and one I plan to make again. Again, I wrote around 800 words on the Ghost Story, posted a book review here, and brainstormed another story idea.

Today I’m writing from home and so far I’ve written another 570+ words for the Ghost Story, plus some minor edits on yesterday’s work. I wrote and posted another short review. I dabbled in a little research on falcons and St. John’s Wort. Before the day is done I plan to submit a piece of flash fiction to a contest I’ve been working towards. Mostly I keep getting distracted by social media which I think is a common refrain for, you know, anyone trying to get anything done ever these days. I find it happens when I hit even the most minor block “I don’t know what this next sentence will be— OH LOOK TWITTER.” Erg.

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Yesterday, at lunch, my friend’s co-worker (and surprisingly, someone I had interviewed for a job with eons ago) spotted us on the park bench and said hello. He asked me what I was doing and I said “Working towards being an author.” He smiled and asked how it was going. “Oh, you know,” I said, waving my hands, “It feels a little like make-believe right now. Like I’m pretending.” Like I’m not quite sure this can really be my life at the moment. But isn’t that the point? What is fiction but elaborate make-believe?

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First day on the job

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

FirstDayPhoto

I don’t have a desk yet. Or business cards. And this website needs a major revamping. But ladies and gentleman, my summer break has ended (with a flash and a bang and some Bollywood dance numbers at our cousin Max’s wedding) and I am diving into writing.

On the three days a week I have to dedicate to writing, my plan goes thusly:

  • Write for three or four hours in the morning, likely beginning with a warm-up exercise
  • Break for lunch (and the occasional social engagement)
  • Use my three-ish hours in the afternoon for either writing (if I’m feeling the momentum) or writing-related activities which may include but are not limited to: plotting, outlining, research, reading, blogging.

At the moment, that’s what I’ve got. We’ll see how the shoe fits. I also plan to incorporate some form of exercise into this whole plan (a lunchtime power walk? an early morning yoga class/routine?) but one thing at a time.

A number of people have asked me what I’m working on. Over the summer, most of what I worked on you saw here: book reviews, the Rumpus flash fiction piece, rebooting old stories. This fall I plan to focus on what I shall hereby dub The Ghost Story because it has ghosts in it, kind of. It’s not really a ghost story in the traditional sense, but is about a town that borders the land of the dead. It has bones in it and birds and ghosts and gravediggers. In it’s current incarnation, it’s a 5600+ word story (17 pages) plus 3500+ words of “so what now?” and many pages of “If this, then that…” type notes. The short story ends with a lot of questions, a map, and what may or may not be a mission. So it seems only natural that it turn into a longer piece. How long, I don’t know. But I am intrigued and need to pick a project so that’s the one I’m picking for now. Today I added 800 words to it so far.

When people ask me what I’m working on I say “a novel” (and I may add “about ghosts” which gets an interesting range of responses). But it’s like when I ask someone to “meet me for coffee.” I don’t drink coffee, but that isn’t what it really means. It means “I want to see you and find out how you’re doing and maybe have a snack/beverage while we’re catching up.” Working on “a novel” to me means “I am writing this story until I can’t anymore and then a little more anyway and maybe it will fill enough words and have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And maybe people will want to read it when it’s done.” I don’t know what it’s like to write a novel but by Jove, I’m going to find out and I intend to let you know how it’s going while I do.

Today has been a good day… in addition to those 800 words, I revised another flash fiction piece that I’m working on for this contest. I was asked to be part of a panel at a local high school on the topic of love in YA fiction. I also took twenty minutes to read to myself aloud from The Ghost Story as it currently stands. I found it really helped me to immerse myself into the world, cadence, and atmosphere of the story, which I feel are equal parts the strength and challenge of this project. And of course, I wrote this blog post.

Don’t expect updates like this every day, but I am going to come up with some sort of accountability reporting. If you want to be in on that, hearing the nitty gritty of what I’m working on every week, let me know.

Most importantly, I feel happy. Happy and excited to be writing. As long as I write in the moment and don’t think too much about how far I have to go. Just one word, page, day at a time.

What has sparked your creativity this week?

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