Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Habits of the Writer

Instead of taking chunks of vacation time this year, I have been taking half days off now and then from work. Initially this was to accommodate my dogs (now that my husband has a job, they are left alone too long some days so I come home early to let them out). But the un-looked-for side benefit of this arrangement has been a free afternoon and evening to write.

Ordinarily I am trying to slot my writing into my life in odd snatches here and there -- early Saturday mornings, the occasional moment I find myself alone at home. (I have a hard time concentrating if anyone else is in the house.) But having one whole afternoon and evening a week dedicated to writing seems to have spurred a creative wave. I find myself writing not one but about five books at once. Ideas are pouring in faster than I can deal with them. Murder mystery and ecological treatise and romance and---it's all jumbling into my brain and I'm typing madly to sort it all out. The other night I dreamed an entire murder mystery start to finish, and I jumped out of bed at 3 a.m. to write it down before I forgot it.

I have carried a notebook around at all times for years, to capture any thoughts or quotes that come to me. Now I actually have time to sit down and use some of them. It's energizing and refreshing, and with spring on the way it's a fantastically productive time. Except soon I need to stop and concentrate on gardening. So the pressure is on even more.

Who is putting this pressure on me? Well, no one, really. I have to get one manuscript to my editor by about June. That's it. So why the panic to get it all out of my head and into the computer? It's not that I'm afraid I'll forget the plots---I've taken extensive notes. But the pressure builds up like a log jamb and it all has to come out. It's almost a physical sensation. The more I write, the more I want to stop everything else and write. Seize the day! Seize the pen!

Until gardening season, and then all I'll want to do is garden. Until next winter, when all I will want to do is sleep.

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