Because, while my mind may be teeming with thoughts and ideas and plans and forgetting things, it's not teeming with any publishable words at all. This always puts me into panic mode, because it's been a while and I'm not ready to stop writing the Window yet. What would you do without it to read on Saturday mornings? (Yeah, I'm being facetious--I am so grateful to those of you who do read it every week.)
I found this while wandering around seeking out ideas, because they're really NOT teeming right now. I wrote it for a writing blog, but it was so much how I'm feeling 10 months later that I decided to use it. Because it's there. That itch.
I'm sitting here at my desk on January 30.
Watching the clock. Because my phone says that in 15 minutes, snow flurries
will start. And over the course of the next day or two, something like 10
inches of snow should arrive. Since we are retired and since we have plenty of
milk, bread, coffee, and toilet paper, I'm not worried a lot about it. My
husband's not looking forward to dragging out the snow blower, for which I
don't blame him.
And there's always this little itch at the back of my mind that I can't reach to scratch.
What if something happens?
We are what is euphemistically referred to as elderly, so it's always a bit of a concern, I guess, although I doubt we worry as much about it as our kids do. We have lived long and prospered, not to mention we've loved and laughed a lot. And we've been happy.
But that's not even why I brought that up. I brought it up because What if something happens? is the beginning of every story we tell. The only advice about writing I ever give with any surety is to start the story when something changes.
When something happens.
This seems...no, it is a simple concept. It's also one I have some trouble with. Because I like introspection. I like dialog. I love humor. I tolerate conflict. I can go on for days writing those things, and sometimes that's exactly what I do. Of course, all the time I'm writing this lovely prose, nothing is happening in the story.
The word for it in publishing is "pacing." I know this because it's been mentioned to me so many times. Usually, the word "slow" is in there somewhere, too.
I know I'm largely preaching to the choir here, but the lesson is a good one. I hope I learn from it by writing this. Now, snow flurries are supposed to have already started. They have not, but one of the cats is meowing worriedly, and bare branches are moving fretfully against a moody sky.
Something is going to happen.
Frankly, I often don't like the feeling--it's more foreboding than anticipation, but we don't always get to choose which itch is making itself known in the back of our minds.
What we get to do is the best we can with not only the story we're writing, but the one we're living as well. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that you have a wonderful week coming up. Be nice to somebody.