Square one has gotten to be a familiar spot.
I finally came around to taking some time off work this past week, and faced with the truth of something I’ll call “free time” I decided to put up or shut-up.
I thought about challenging myself with something daunting like in the old days–write a short story a day, or write two short stories a day, or something audacious like that. I envisioned blogging my great success, as if anyone was actually around to really care. In the end I decided that kind of thing didn’t make sense. I didn’t need that.
Instead, I needed something that said commitment. In the end, I think that’s what’s been lacking–commitment to something truly hard. Creating drafts of stories is not very hard. At least I don’t think so.
Writing is easy.
Storytelling, however, is hard. So that’s what I decided to do with my time off. Look at storytelling.
I’m not a total sadist, however. Rather than start afresh, I decided I would take my fantasy novel and begin working with it. I would read. I would work with it. I would try my best to find its flaws. In the process I have to admit that I hoped beyond hope to begin to fall in love with it just a little bit again.
That too, I think has been missing. Sometime I’ll think about that a little more, too. Sometime I’ll write about it. But for now I’ll just say that I’ve worked on this thing for nearly a week solid. For now I’ll say that I’ve spent this week doing heavy lifting, practicing skills I’ve left fallow for longer than I care to think about. I worked on the computer. I worked with paper and ink. I worked while I cooked on the grill. I worked on the couch. I left things untouched, thinking about them in spare moments in order to return to them later with fresh perspectives.
I like that my story took surprising turns. I liked that I thought my characters were interesting. I didn’t like that my micro-writing was sloppy, but I guess I could always say that.
Yesterday, though, it happened. Yesterday I finished a scene and I stepped back, grinning. “That’s really good,” I said to myself. “That’s really, really good.”
Then I went back to work.