Journal, The Happy Writer

Writing a novel is a lot like being in a long term relationship. There are days when you wonder if it’s worth it all, and days when you feel like you’re the luckiest person on earth. Sometimes I fight with the story. It wants to go one way, while I want to go another, and in the end we must reach some kind of compromise.

I’ve been at an impasse with my story of late. I’m thick in the midst of the dreaded middle. I thought I’d worked through the problem, and I did make some excellent progress, but here I am stuck again.

In the meantime, I decided to cheat on my novel by spending time on a few shorts, hoping it would sow the seed of inspiration, but though they’ve been fun, I still can’t help but feel guilty about it.

What I realized was that I’d lost interest in the novel I’d set out to write. I’d gotten so focused on plot, fulfilling word counts, that I’d forgotten the feeling, the idea, the excitement, that spark, that set this novel into motion.

What I need to do is care again. To let the fire burn through the fear and the doubt. Deadlines are important, they keep me driving forwards at full speed, but my story is telling me to slow down and listen. I wasn’t paying attention before, but I’m listening now.

Why did I start this novel? Oh yes, I remember. I think I’m falling in love again.

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Journal

Armed with gloves, rags, and lemon scented cleaner, I faced down my nemesis.  The bathroom stared back.

“Nay,” I declared. “Ye shall not rob me of my writing time!”

I scrubbed the counter with rough circular motions, but there was too much grime to be found. The battle would not be quickly won.

“If ye shall not yield! I shall do two things at once!”

The bathroom squeaked in horror as I unsheathed an old toothbrush. I set it into the cracks beneath the neck of the faucet. It coughed up little bits of black.

My movements slowed, working away at the grime as gently as I would brush the hair on a baby. I concentrated on a problem with my plot as I worked away. Sometimes my mind won. Sometimes the bathroom won.

I fought with my butterfly brain. Mediation is about focus, about mindful thinking, someone had told me once. It was easier said, harder done. Yet, little by little, the beast was slain and I rejoiced as the plot problem dissolved away like with the soap scum on the bathtub.

Oh yes, and the bathroom is spotless.

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