To open my mac now, with the sounds of playing children and laughing families mingling with the smells of barbecue and wood burning stoves … all of it wafting through my window, well it feels so weird. “Time to write” – what a foreign concept.
Today and tomorrow I have some “free” time to get some writing done. Of course, for me, that’s not the best time to write. Usually writing flows from my fingertips, like lightning rays from a super villain, on days when I don’t have much time to write. Usually writing happens during hours when I should be doing something else entirely, or sleeping.
What is my purpose with the writing of this post? Am I practicing my craft, thereby loosening the grip of the several stories and projects I’ve lined up? Practicing means spending time describing the sensory aspects around me without using too many words and boring the reader. It also means putting aside my ideas, for the moment, on Molly Malone and her present day counterpart – Malone, in my series Vantage Point. It means my deeper discovery of Hemingway will have to be delayed yet another week. And that alternate universe/time traveling cave dweller splashing around in the stream will have to keep splashing too.
I could tuck my macbook under my arm and walk up the road to the little cemetery at the top of the hill. It’s peaceful up there. I don’t think anyone would bother me, and I could sit next to an Edward or Meredith and presume to know their life story as I have a make-believe conversation with their tombstone.
The weather is beautiful outside. I could get out in it somewhere, hide myself from on-lookers, and DESCRIBE. How many ways can I say that birds are chirping and crickets are too? Sunlight sparkles off the shimmering leaves like that sequined dress I would never be caught dead in? Late blooming lawn mowers push their instruments in the distance, coming and going, coming and going, probably wishing they’d done this yesterday.
The Pines, Firs, and Cedars surround the town like a cocoon and keep the outside wind from messing up our hair. I miss the Pacific Madrones. Their twisty persistence as they reach toward the sunlight, and their scarred and peeling bark-skin draws me to them like a fellow survivor. If I were a tree, I’d be a Madrone.
I’m sure somewhere, people are playing baseball on a day like today. My sleepiness tries to lull me; when it fails, it tempts me with the “stupid box” or a video game. My weapons are coffee and a wet head. The shower felt great. I washed off a grunge of depression and heaviness and lathered my terrible haircut with smell-good bath and body products.
Now where was I heading with this? Oh right, purpose. Practicing descriptive language, to show and not tell in my writing? Or should I swing some poetry around like a bad-ass and drop lines like a rap-star? I don’t really need practice there. Poets, although witty, deep, moving, or disturbing … don’t make much money at it. I’ll post more poetry because I breath. But if I really want to write for a living, I need to focus on areas of improvement. There’s so many.
1. Practice shorter sentence structure.
2. Practice showing and not telling.
3. Further increase vocabulary to allow better #1 and #2.
4. Finish something.
Finishing something might be the most difficult, since I’m a perfectionist. I find myself revisiting old posts and editing spelling and grammar errors all the time. I do that more often than researching my novel idea with Molly or my Hemingway project. Of course, I’d like to include much more on that list.
5. Practice different voices in writing.
6. Have some damn patience.
Okay, now it’s time to write. Stop messing around and sloshing all matter of unrelated, disconnected ideas and offerings onto the screen. Focus. Work on the list. Are you serious about writing or not? You have time to write, so it’s time to write!
I realize this post feels much like a wrap up TV show, where they pull together cuts from shows already done throughout the season to string together another show for the coffers. But in actuality, adding the links was an afterthought to provide a reference point for those readers that want it. If you’re a writer, I hope you can relate to some of what I’ve written and, if so, please comment and tell me about your own experiences.