Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Write Thing

I am now deeply enmeshed in the story I am trying to write. Last week I decided, on Thursday, to begin writing the fiction that I am constantly talking about writing. While writing fiction is exponentially difficult for me in some ways, it was much easier to start than one would think.

You simply begin. You just start writing the first sentence that comes to mind, and keep going until you get stumped. Then, sometimes you have to walk away for a few minutes or hours or even days. I have not yet experienced needing to walk away for months or years. I think that terrifies me.
When you come back (from walking away), you sometimes are able to start right back where you left off. Other times you scroll down a bit, until there is nothing but blank white canvas, and you begin another part of the story, or you describe something. Sometimes you look something up to make sure you have the right definition or word. 

Still other times, you wander around aimlessly on Facebook for awhile, searching for inspiration, reading status updates and wasting hours down long, meandering rabbit trails of life while the laundry sits neglected and the scones you were going to make for the kid's afternoon snack stay least for one more day. Sigh.

It is different from writing a blog. With a blog I am just writing myself, and since I inhabit myself and think my thoughts and conduct myself accordingly, it isn't as hard (for me) to tell that story as it is to tell another story using my self as a guinea pig. I put myself in some else's shoes in writing fiction, and try those shoes out for an entire journey. It seems exhausting and I have no idea if there's any true ability inside of me to do this, but I find that I must know if there is. Even if I fail. I just need to try it and know. 

I'm glad I began doing this.

While the easy part is beginning just the once, one of the hard parts is beginning every day, anew. Beginning again in my commitment, goal, gift, and ultimately the freshly baked mercies of God, I set out each day to devote at least part of my thoughts, to the telling of a truth by way of a story. 

Another hard part is the crafting. I know what I want to say, but saying it, oh how tricky that can be. And isn't is profound to think that how something is said can make all the difference in the weight of it's message? The way something is said has almost everything to do with almost everything. 

The entire attorney population probes this mystery every day.

It is not what you say but how you say it. 

It's also hard to craft a story without unveiling the blatant. But many good stories are buried under a layer of parable, in the vehicle of wit and wearing the clothing of apt description.

The other obstacle I'm running into is scheduling time to write. I'm going to need to have days to write fiction and days to write on my blog, days to make cards, cook elaborate meals, days to sew and paint and make soap and garden...oh you know. I love structure, which helps me to truly feel an artist, because if everything in my life has its place, with God and my family being first and my art being second, in my eyes that is peaceful and truly beautiful. I am able to weave creatively on the loom of structure.

I'll end this ramble with this. I went to my new writer's group last week, and I had been writing my story for two days by then. One of the leaders was talking about a writing magazine that she liked. She opened it up to the middle to show us a sampling of their articles and what do you know, the title of that article was "How to Write a Great Chapter One". I took it as confirmation. I took it as guidance and direction and as that tiny little dry wittish way that God loves to speak to me in the normal, seemingly coincidental moments of life. He's so good at inside jokes. He was telling me that I am right where I'm supposed to be, that I need all the help that I can get, and that He's a part of every detail.

Or maybe that I'm a detail of His parts?  My soul rises up in hope that I could ever contribute to the Great literary Conversation.

Either way, I'm glad I'm doing the write thing.