The Days Count

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thirty days ago today, I finally started back at writing.  I am still not certain how I did it.  Looking back, overcoming a fallow summer of trying to write but not actually writing, looks to me like a minor miracle. 

Maybe it was the planning.  Making up a schedule, laying the days out on paper--or in my case on a laptop screen--tends to knock things loose.  Maybe I finally got so sick of myself that I had to do something.  I both hate and love that feeling.  I think my deep-seated need to write comes from that restlessness, that feeling I get late in the evenings where I need to get out in the night, see something, feel something, where I can't stand to lay in my bed and go quietly to sleep.

Whatever it is, it's been a productive month.  I wrote two pieces of micro-fiction and put them out for comment.   I have several other short stories in work.  All told, I wrote over 40 pages of fiction.  I am about 30% through the treatment for my novel.   I created this blog, got up 11 posts, and made a slew of comments on other blogs and message boards. 

This is in addition to the reading I did.  I digested a forest of short stories, finished a novel (review to follow) and a couple books on writing craft (will review as well).  Most importantly, I made a few new friends in the writing community and their encouragement and comeraderie at this early stage has been essential.  If you're reading this now, you might be one of them, so I thank you.

This trumpeting of my recent work may seem braggadocious, and perhaps it is.  But I find that marking down what I have accomplished is a way of pushing away the thought of all those things I haven't.  After thirty days, my work feels so tentative and unreal that I think this post is a way of reminding myself that, yes, progress is being made.

The new fear I face is the fear that I believe any artist faces, the unreasonable dread that it all might end, the panic of waking one morning and finding the well dry, of discovering the favor of the muse withdrawn.  This is an artful way of worrying that this willingness to dig in and work--this certain work ethic I've unearthed in the last month--won't long remain. 

In response to this fear, I have introduced a new alertness.  I watch myself closely.  I struggle with distractions.  I avoid excuses.  Sometimes I can't sleep.  Sometimes all I want is sleep.  I try to live only in this moment and the next, never raising my eyes to look farther afield, for fear of losing my way.  And strangely, this is making me happy.

My next goal is clear: write for another thirty days--10 pages a week minimum.  Not a lot, yes, but enough for me.  I am like "The Little Engine That Could": I think I can. 

One word in front of the next, baby.  Wish me luck.

4 bolts from the blue:

Emily Cross said...

Well done!! You're not bragging at all, you're sharing your accomplishments and goals and of course inspiring others to go forth and conquer the page :)!

I've been slightly busy but i plan on reading through some of you micro fiction :) I think you should be proud of yourself - you did some serious work this month (and remember i'm the one who has a post celebrating that i wrote 600 words lol)

Jon Paul said...

Thanks Emily. I really appreciate the support.

xoxo said...

Don't think you can, know you can!
Writing is pretty easy once you started, hey before you know it you'll have a whole novel finished :D

Happy writing

Jon Paul said...

Thanks Xo.

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