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Being a writer

 On Saturday, my writing group went on its first-ever mini-retreat. We met early, wrote all day, broke for lunch, wrote in the afternoon, and read at the end of the day. We came up with a few goals for the group, and it got each of us thinking about our work in new ways. It was pretty rockin.

I set out to write 5,000 words on my Secret New Project, and I ended up coming in short, with 4,000. But I now have about 10 chapters of material and close to 12,000 words. The book is just under 25% complete! Yay!

Of course, it's in disasterous shape. At the very end of the day, I moved a scene from chapter 3 or 4 to chapter 10, which means I have to go back and straighten and smooth out the plot in those early sections. And the pacing is a little off, but that's okay. This is draft-stuff. And draft-stuff is messy and bumpy and doesn't always make sense. That's why I revise. A ton. 

All of us remarked on how indulgent it felt to just spend a day writing--no other responsibilities or obligations. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, especially in relation to being a mom and working. It's hard. Writing means you take away time from your family--large chunks of time--to create. It means other people have to pick up your slack (or your kid). It never seems like you're done, especially once you finish a draft and realize how much work is ahead of you in revision. And when you ARE done, you turn around and do it all again for the next book.

Last week, the fabulous jbknowles  wrote about how she was making this year the Year of Being a Writer . She wrote about the challenges and insecurities and difficulty that comes with putting the work first. 

I'm sitting in Panera Bread, while my husband is home with our daughter, stealing away a few hours to work and write and catch up, and it looks like I'm dinking around on the computer. But I'm putting the work first. And when I go home--after stopping at the grocery store on my way--I'll be able to put my family first, and feel refreshed and energized about the work I just did.

I'm trying to Be a Writer, too, Jo.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)

So far writing in the morning and reaching my goal before I do anything else is working really well for me. Glad you're finding the same!

Jan. 11th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
I'm trying to write during CCs ever- shrinking nap time. But I think I'm going to have to start working in the morning to get in some of my words for the day.
Jan. 10th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
"I'm trying to Be a Writer, too."

You ARE a writer. And a damn fine one at that. :)

But of course I understand (as you well know) the different directions life pulls us in. How impossible it can seem to dedicate the time you actually need to be a writer, how selfish it can feel. But I imagine our families would rather the whole and complete Us, the Us doing something we love, even if that means we hide out once in a while.
Jan. 11th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
Thanks, mostly. That's what I try and tell myself...and most days I believe it.or some days.
Jan. 10th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
You are so smart! And of course a writer. With a little one, which is very amazing. And then there's that not so easy job.

Go, Erin!
Jan. 11th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Thank you, Jeanine. You are one of my writer- heroes.
Jan. 11th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
I'm with you and Jo, working at being a writer.

Most days it's fun, but some days, it can be hard to get started.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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