Not sure where I’m going with this, but an extra day in the month (all right, last month, technically) calls for an extra post. Right now, I am in my comfy chair, lap desk in my lap, a pile of pale yellow sticky index cards (how did I ever forget those existed; not thrilled with the yellow part, as that’s my least favorite color, but sticky index cards are the closest thing I’m going to get to cross breeding my office supplies) and Skye kitty snoozing in a sunbeam. Real Life Romance Hero is taking it easy after a hard week’s work, and I have the binder for Her Last First Kiss wedged between my hip and the arm of the chair.
Okay, not anymore, because I took it out so I could photograph it. I take a lot of pictures these days. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see it’s mostly my workspace and Skye, with a smattering of local food, current reads and art supplies, the odd bit of scenery and, surprisingly early this year, waterfowl. I did not expect to see ducks on Tuesday, but there they were, a pair of mallards, contentedly paddling their way along the greenish water I had last seen as a solid sheet of ice. Late winter/early spring in upstate NY is a curious thing, which I have come to accept.
Now that I’ve started talking, I have to keep going until I hit the magic number of 700 words. That’s the deal. Discipline is a big part of the writing process for me. Counting my words doesn’t work in the drafting process. Give me a pen and some paper and let me loose, and we’ll do the math when I come back up for air. I’m not going to pretend I’ve got this all figured out. It’s a long trip back up onto the horse when I fall off on things like this, but I do know that try/fail, try/fail, try/succeed works in actual writing as well as it does in fiction, though the real life version does not always play nice and follow the rule of three. Usually exactly the opposite.
I’ll haul out the old Japanese proverb here: fall down five times, get up six. Or sixteen. Or sixty. Or six hundred, if it comes to that. There’s a sweatshirt I saw once, in an ad (funny what pops up on one’s Facebook sometimes) showing clothing marketed toward drill sergeants, that said:
Suck it up, Buttercup.
Summer, the heroine of my time-travel-in-limbo, immediately told me that was her favorite sweatshirt (she’s never been in the military, but she is a competitive dancer, and the words suit her, so okay, she can have it) and the words stuck with me beyond that. I don’t know when I’ll get that story written. I will, though, and it will likely be a far different tale than the one I’d found myself irretrievably stuck on, but, right now, I’m writing this book. Hero and Heroine’s book. Head down, eyes on my own paper. Keep on going until The End.
In the words of Elvis Costello, every day, every day, every day, I write the book. Monday through Friday means morning pages. By my count, I will need a new morning pages book in two weeks. Thankfully, I have a few candidates in my stash already. That fat stack of index cards turned into a page with scenes listed. Which turned into Scrivener files, which are easy to nip into an blabber upon. I actually like rewriting, so this isn’t staring at giant blank white wall, a strangled “uhhh….” rumbling in my throat because I’ve forgotten how to English. I’m a talker. I talk. I need to talk more.
I’m into the six hundreds now, and Skye is waiting on my left (her signal for “I really want your attention, Anty, and did you notice what time it is? Answer: treat time.) so time to wrap this up. Hypercritical Gremlins are grumbling behind their blanket in my office closet (blanket is hung over the hanger rod in lieu of a door) and, more importantly, the cat needs to be fed. To haul out another old proverb, (Japanese again, but don’t quote me on that,) the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Open the file. Open the notebook. Put something down. Anything will do. As a former writing group facilitator often said, the process begets the product. We got this.