Literally. I’m sure I am not the first writer to compare writing to baking, but I’ll do it anyway. Recently I have started baking bread (and by recently I mean Thursday). Kneading, waiting, kneading some more, waiting a bit longer, baking, and then waiting a wee bit more and finally – ahhh, crackling crust, soft center (but not doughy), and the satisfaction of creating something that not just looks awesome, but is actually palatable. And there you have it: the creation of a book. I mean bread. I mean a book. So similar are the processes that with a few interchangeable words the description could fit either task. Signing off now to tackle more writing. I mean baking. I mean writing…..
That’s how I explain my writing process. Recently I asked a number of writer friends how the story happens for them. Guess what? Not one of us uses the same methods for our madness. For each writer the act of creating is personal and as I am now discovering, utterly and completely unique.
I am, as mentioned in an earlier blog, a little scrap of paper type of writer. Ideas, names, one liners, even whole paragraphs find their home on whatever pulp based item I can get my hands on. Ask my husband, who on many a road trip has frantically searched for a somewhat clean fast food napkin and dark-colored crayon with me yelling “I have an idea – quick I need something to write on.” Oh but how I dream of binders and color coded folders and cross referenced maps but the reality is, I am just not that gal. My stories unfold in my imagination and much like my children, they seem to do whatever they want, regardless of the path I try to put them on.
I used to think that my style was wrong, that a book could never materialize out of the chaos that is my desk (and my head for that matter!). But then I found a gum wrapper that said otherwise so I’m good….
…or in this age of immeditate gratification and technical wizardry, put the fingers to the keyboard. At long last I have discovered the secret to writing a book and it only took me thirty years (give or take… actually, please take). Are you ready? Drum roll please………. stay in the chair and type. Too simple? Annoyingly simple? I thought so too but there it is. Genuis, really. The key to getting the book done is apparantly by NOT getting up and walking the dog, changing the sheets, surfing Monster.com for a “real” job, or getting yet another munchie from the kitchen. Who knew? Well, for starters all of those folks who can stroll into Borders and pull one of their own titles off the shelf. Oh, and the people at about 100 different great tips for writers sites. And I am pretty sure that is what my Creative Writing professor was trying to tell us back in college as I was heading out to the vending machines for a munchie. Well, as the old cliché goes, better late than never. So while technically my fingers ARE on the keyboard, I must hasten back to my other screen to…..dramatic drumroll once again……FINISH THE BOOK (and by finish I mean move on past Chapter Three). BRB – have to go grab a munchie first…….
It is pretty much a given that in any writer’s magazine, creative rag, or book geared towards getting a move on that someone mentions the typical artist procrastination. It has been said that many writers will do almost anything rather than write. So it is with this knowledge lurking in the dark areas of my psyche that I spend many hours doing lots of work, but not enough actual writing. Justification comes in the form of a “everyone’s got the same problem” mantra. Don’t get me wrong – I am the QUEEN of great ideas, paragraphs, scenes, and one liners all diligently written down on little scraps of paper, the back of my daughter’s homework sheets (I really hope Mr. Roa liked the one about the flying horse…), and even in the margins of coupons. Yes, for the quick fix I rule but when it comes down to putting the great ideas in order and putting in the hard work (*sigh* – my nemesis) that will eventually result in an actual completed manuscript, well, I suck. Yup. So in this year of transformations and committing to the JUST DO IT motto, it is my intention to put more stick-to-itness into my writing and……wait….hang on…I just had a great idea! I’ll be right back, let me just grab this book of matches to jot something down on………
After a hectic close to 2009 I am looking forward to new adventures, new tales to tell, and new goals to reach. A good friend has spoken alot this New Year about transformations – both personal and professional – and while I am no Faith Popcorn, I think this will definitely be a defining buzz word of 2010. During this time of global redefinition and economic insanity isn’t the most powerful change we can make that of ourselves? Instead of resolutions that so often go by the wayside by the time January 31 roles around we should all be creating goal charts. Lists of what we want from our own lives, from and for ourselves and a roadmap of how to realistically get there. Taking a line from Dr. Phil’s page and the Nike ads, if you want to acheive something, JUST DO IT.