“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
– Arthur Ashe
Not ideas, because I am not O at a loss for any of those. I have index card files, seriously, so I am not going to run out any time soon. Not every idea is going to be written, but each one of them has something in there that I can use in some form. Even if what I glean from that is “never pitch a book idea you pulled out of your :ahem: self after not sleeping for three days straight because the pitch session just took an awkward turn. Not that that ever happened to anybody I know. :cough: But ideas, yes, lots of those.
What I’m talking about here is those days when I have no idea what I’m doing. I hate those. People who know me know that I’m a planner. I like to know what is going to happen, when, not to mention how. I love to-do lists, and the only think I like better than listing tasks is crossing them off. Maybe prioritizing, because that’s actually fun, especially if I get to play with highlighters.
Life, especially the writing life, doesn’t always work that day. Sometimes, the nonwriting life takes a good long look at a writer and says, “Writer, you are now officially my puching bag.” Whompity whompity whomp. Nonwriting life can have a mean left hook. Domestic tornado chains whip through what should be a fairly productive writing day. Sick family members, financial hiccups, domestic duties that require immediate attention, lest the universe implode, and the like are not going to take a break because we’re making good time on the work in progress, or a blog post due.
Which is where today’s ramble comes in. Yesterday had its challenges, and there was no way on earth I was going to give up my time with Her Last First Kiss, so Monday’s post got moved to Tuesday. I probably had some vague notion (or maybe a not so vague one) about what I wanted to cover in this blog post. Something about notebooks, maybe? A Camp NaNo update? How much fun it is to be splashing around in the shallows of a new book, and then, without meaning to, diving down deep and finding ohhhhhh, that’s why that thing was in that scene. I may not have known what I was doing at the time my hero picked up a china dog in a shop (and a scene I didn’t plan), as a gift for the heroine, but he did, and that’s what matters. He knew she would like it, even if I had no earthly idea, bu a few chapters later, when she finally admits a Deep Secret she will only trust to him, it all makes sense.
We’ve been in our current home for about two and a half years now, Real Life Romance Hero and Housemate and Skye and I , and only recently did I finally get around to employing an arty idea I’d had while apartment hunting. I’ve tried scrapbooking, and it’s really not for me, but I love mixed media art, and anything even remotely notebook-related. About a week or so ago, I took out the map we’d used in finding our home, so that I could memorialize the search with art. I covered the cardboard box that my new computer cord came in with part of that map, and now use it to store pens and a small notebook. Easily portable, unique and personal. It reminds me of the writing desk the hero of Her Last First Kiss counts as his most prized posession. His is wood, not cardboard, far more durable than what I have, and he sure as anything wouldn’t have made it himself (carpentry is not his thing) but the connection, that’s there, and it’s strong. Through all of his travels, my hero counts his writing desk as his true home, and I can relate to that.
Today has been one of those punching bag days. Yesterday was another. This post exists because I don’t like having to push back Wednesday’s post because I haven’t yet done Monday’s post, and because posting is one thing I can control when nonwriting life starts lobbing stuff at me. Sit down at the keyboard and blabber about writing? I can do that. I may not know the exact topic when I set out on the journey, but that’s okay. I know how to write. I’ll get there.
So it is with the art and discipline of writing a book. It’s been a while since I’ve had a hero and heroine talk to me this clearly ( things,perhaps, only other writers will understand) amd I am not going to squander that. Maybe I don’t know where we’re going for a particular session, but I trust them. I trust that I know how to write a book. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. I am doing it now. Sometimes, we need to make the maps while we explore, then follow them later.