Last week I tried to write a post ahead, in case it was not easy to write a post during Fabulous Wine Tasting Weekend. I ended up not using what I wrote, because I thought it needed to be edited and polished (I think I wrote a blog post about it). Looking at it again, I feel it will work find for a Mental Meanderings Monday. Here it is:
I ran Wednesday and thought to do a running commentary. My inner monologue as I ran seemed interesting enough, to me anyways.
Of course the operative thing to do is to sit right down soon after the run and write the thing (YES, I shower first! I said SOON after! Sheesh!) That is my usual method, composing at the computer. Today, however (this was written Thursday), I am sitting in the break area at work before my shift starts, scribbling in a spiral notebook with a stolen pen (well, not exactly stolen; somebody left it sitting on a table. Let’s call it purloined, which has the charm of alliteration).
I go on about this minutae, because I am fascinated by the mechanics of writing. I think a lot of people are. Hence, the plethora of books about writing. Of course, they don’t always tell me what I really want to know. When do you write? Where do you write? Pen, pencil or keyboard? How long is a writing session? And my biggest question: How in a busy life do you carve out time to write and stick to it?
Regarding the last question, my growing suspicion is that a lot of writers don’t know exactly how they do it, and I make bold to suggest that a lot of them have the niggling guilty feeling that they are not doing it enough. Most of them end with a huffy statement along the lines of, “If it’s important to you, you’ll do it.”
Yes, that’s all very well. I find it more helpful to hear concrete suggestions such as, “Get up an hour earlier” and “Write on your lunch break.” Some people intone “Time management” as if it is a magic elixir you can buy in a bottle that makes more hours appear in a day. We all know it’s not that easy, and I appreciate the writer that acknowledges that fact.
Let’s look at the other advice about writing. Many writing books say things like, “Find what works for you.” Obviously. In fact, I’d almost put that under the “Well, duh” category, except that there are some things the writing books say you ABSOLUTELY MUST DO. There are always people who like to dictate as well as some techniques that work so well for so many people they take on the aura of a truism.
To take a non-writerly example: when you diet, only step on the scale once a week. The idea behind this is that you save yourself stressing over the one and two pound fluctuations that will happen to the best of us. Most people are quite content to follow this advice and find that it works for them. I personally step on the scale every day. Those little one-pound gains you’re not supposed to stress over? I take them as reminders to stay on the straight and narrow. The one pound losses you also should not take too seriously? Encouragement, which I need in spades.
So, yes, we must find and follow what works for us. For example, I find that it works for me to write a blog post every day, however silly it may turn out to be. Ah, but an important part of that sentence is “I find.” We must FIND OUT what works for us. In that quest, I like to read other writers’ advice. I do not always take the advice. I hope nobody is offended.
And now I feel my mind has meandered enough. Happy Monday, everybody.