Guest post on Readers’ Muse? Heck yeah! It’s on. Thank you, Dhivya, for inviting me to stop at your site on this virtual tour.
Today, I am writing. No hashtag required. I’ve walked a couple of miles on train tracks, over a bridge, and through the woods to arrive at this cafe, Not Grandmother’s House. Several routes exist between here and home, and one passes near enough to the Pacific to hear the waves crashing as I go. It’s a great way to start the day, and wonderful way to work. And I do mean work, because most of writing - well, my writing anyway - doesn’t happen while I’m hunkered down in front of my keyboard. Sure, the necessity of words filling pages drives schedules, so I force myself to sit down in front of these 192k pixels, interrogating each to determine which should be black and which white, but if I haven’t had time for some preprocessing (Carlin’s deriding me from his grave) then I’m not writing; I’m staring.
I’ve actively pursued a career as an author for 20 years, and I don’t think there is any way around that initial, unknown time investment. I worked in kitchens in another life, and one of my favorite chefs used to say, “It’s done when it’s done.” He didn’t have more than a rough estimate of cook time because he frequently created new dishes, as experiments or to compensate for changes in produce. To be clear, the writing like the dish isn’t complete once all their respective ingredients have been selected and arranged. At some point, you have to put everything together, cook it, and see what you’ve got. Sometimes more salt and pepper, and sometimes wine. Sometimes a favorite character has to die, and sometimes, I need to start over. I like to think that my experience helps me make better decisions, to start over or throw out bad ideas sooner, but that’s not always the case. Anyway, the point is that both processes are required. The open-minded, freeform exploration of an idea is just as important as the writing, including editing the poop out of it. (Keep it together, Safronoff, this is a family blog.) Both require time and effort. Both are work. One looks a lot more like work than the other, but as far as I’m concerned they’re the same.
So the next time you’re on a walk, or you wake up in the middle of the night, or you stay in bed all day like an eagle hunting prey, remember, you’re on your way to becoming an author. ;-) Seriously, if you want to write give yourself the time to think. You still have to put words down in a particular order at some point, but finding your rhythm, knowing when to follow your thoughts, and when to lead them, is key.
I hope something in there is helpful! Experiment with your rhythm, figure out what works best for you, and keep going. Thank you for reading!