Lynn Voedisch: You gotta do what moves ya!

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The Writer’s World

There’s something about moving (as in moving all your belongings) that doesn’t sit well with the writing process.

First, the muse (If you have one) decides things are way too messy to be around and goes on a holiday. Ideas? Poof! Out the window. Meanwhile those ugly old boxes lurk in your office (and living room and dining room and, well, everywhere) making you feel that you are decidedly out of place. (“What does she do?” “She writes.” Guffaws all around cardboard mountains.)

I have an odd way of getting going on a new book. I write the first draft by hand. I feel closer to the creative process that way. But all those notebooks cause  clutter, so they were consigned to a box that said “Open me first!). Now I’m just going freeform on the computer screen. I should like the freedom but I don’t. I feel naked and exposed. I like my old habits.

There’s also the usual allotment of time the author gives him or herself for writing a day. Some writers insist on 1,000 words a day. Not me! I’m much more free-form. If I find that I can do a 2,000-word chapter in a day and the take some time off for new ideas that works. Other times I do 500-word bites at a time. I’m not a slave to word-count rules. Other writers get to know their characters by writing little vignettes where they go out for coffee together. Not me! Wasted verbiage! If it’s good enough to put on the page, you can work it into your story, ice cream and all. Others get up at dawn to draw on their newly awakened mind for inspiration. The only inspiration I can even begin to find early in the a.m.  is in the New York Times over an overamped cup of tea. Mornings, who needs ‘em? And what’s worse is that the older I get, the less I can stay in blessed dreamland. Is this some kind of joke?

But now that this little moving bit of disarray is creeping into my day, I find myself much more likely to pitch in and pack rather than face a blank page. Manana, Manana. I have started to do some character interviews (on this blog) just to get the creative process going. I pay more attention to my dreams now and imagine my characters in them. And I’ll stay up late writing (or thinking about the next writing turn, which is just as important). But no mornings yet. Heck, that’s why I quit the day job.

This thing isn’t going to be over soon, either. We close early next month—and then my darling spouse goes on a two-week business trip. I’ll have to keep the new house going and check on the old one, all while worrying about getting what I need for the laundry room, bathroom towels, etc. Then the movers will show up and whole hell will break loose.

Are my characters sharing in this experience? Well, let’s just say that by the second chapter I have a character unpacking books at her new high-rise condo. I should have lots for her to do by the time the chapter ends.

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On April 26, 2016
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