“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” ~Ernest Hemingway
There was a time when my dream was to be an Olympic gymnast. As a young gymnast watching her score a perfect 10 in the Olympics, how could I not? My teenage/young adult years brought the dream of writing a book on the New York Bestseller list.
I live in my head most of the time. Imaginary scenes. Pictures of short actions that lead to a line or two of poetry. Dialogue between characters. Writing is how I get it all out to make room for more. I think all the dialogues I have running through my head helps me write good dialogue. Okay, I think it’s bloody brilliant, but what I think and what others think are two different things. At least a creative writing professor I had in college acknowledged that skill of mine. *patting self on back*
I am burning the midnight oil a lot lately. I am somehow functioning well on 4 to 6 hours of sleep a night. Which is not usual for me. I’m typically a zombie without at least 8 hours. I keep telling myself I have to stop, but that is when all the words for the images I have in my head start swirling around and I need to get them out before I lose them. Any writer will tell you that if they don’t get it out and in black in white, they lose it. It’s true. I always keep some kind of notebook with me in case a line or two comes to me when I’m away from home and my laptop.
This is how I was in high school, college and post-college. I would sit for hours in the dark late a night with a notebook or in front of my typewriter or computer. Sometimes things would come to me fast and free. Sometimes I’d just stare.
My dormmates my Freshman year of college would tease me. We often left our doors open so we could drop in on each other. My desk was right next to the door and if I was in creative mode I would be sitting cross-legged at my desk, Walkman on, and staring at a lit candle I kept on my desk. It didn’t matter what time of day it was or how hot and humid it was, that candle was lit and I was in a zone. They called it the Light of Knowledge.
I no longer feel the need for a lit candle while being creative. Honestly, I don’t have room for one where I have my laptop set up. It would be either a candle or a glass of water. I’ve moved away from always sitting in the dark, as well. Yesterday I sat here pretty much all day working on my book. And of course, it came much more easier once Chaz was in bed and the world outside settled down.
There are times I want to venture out into the world with the purpose to draw inspiration from the people around me. I spent a lot of time at a coffee shop around the corner from us before moving to Cincinnati. I normally went on my days off and spent a few hours there just writing. Sometimes reading. Some early weekend mornings I would steal away there for some time while Chaz was still sleeping. Some days I would get inspiration at my desk and decide to go there after work for an hour or two.
This spawned a little experiment Silly Sissy and I started. We call it Sketch-2-Sketch. I write and post a character sketch and Silly Sissy takes it and turns it into a visual sketch. It was a way for both of us to hone our skills. We haven’t done it in a while. Things were crazy after moving to Cincinnati with my job and not having much energy to really observe the way I was before. I’m bugging her as I type this up. I’m a multi-tasker like that.
There is one constant to my writing. I need music. It compels me forward. Even if it takes two songs between sentences, the music drives my labor of love, especially now. I must have listened to the Dizzy Up the Girl CD by Goo Goo Dolls a million times when I first started writing my book over a decade ago. If I had it on vinyl or cassette tape, it would be dust by now. And that was before mp3 players. Now I have a playlist that is about 2 1/2 hours long that stays on repeat. I add a song here and there. One that pulls at me and I have to listen to over and over again because of the emotion I’m drawing from it.
I am finding myself drawn to my laptop lately to tap out word after word of this story that has swum around in my head for years. My body buzzes and I have butterflies in my stomach while sitting here. It’ll like I’m in love and I came to the realization yesterday that I am right where I need to be. Every sign in front of me keeps confirming it. I may never make the New York Bestseller list. I realize that and I’m okay with it. The success here is that I finish this book whether it sees the light of day or not.
“The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.” ~Ernest Hemingway