Saturday, May 14, 2005

Exercise or Writing?

Lately (okay this week) I've been really good at keeping to my exercising regimen. I can't say as much for my writing "schedule." Why is that? Why is it so easy to go to the pool or get to the gym but I can't make it the few feet down the stairs to my "office" to "write" my "novel"? And why do I find myself using scare quotes to say "write" or "novel"? Because they are only concepts that have no application in the real world, i.e. here, where I live and dwell and fail to write. I want to write, I think, but then I find myself doing anything but. Again, I think I'm putting too much pressure on myself to write the perfect novel.
Time to reaquaint myself with Anne Lamott and "shitty first drafts." I resolve to write a really shitty part of something I'm working on tomorrow. And then the next day, I'm going to write something even worse. Yes. These are goals I can accomplish. And I will.


Paulk said...

When I was working on my novel last year, I did those five page segments. I was determined to write 100 pages for the first section of the book and 100 pages for the last.

Then, when it came time to revise, I started hacking away. Of the first 120 pages that ended up in the book, about 95 of them were completely new writing.

The Shitty Draft. It's the only way to go.

(Hey, children aren't reading this, are they?)

Lisa B. said...

Are you in a writing group? I find that being in a writing group is a good way to write 12 poems a year, which isn't too bad, by my count. (please don't tell me otherwise)

By the way, I totally get it about being able to be focused on one thing, but not the most important thing. Sigh.

Nik said...

As important as it is to establish (and pretend to keep) a writing schedule, permitting yourself a break from writing seems to make me want to write a lot more.
Also--I dragged myself on a crazy writing binge out of town, which I highlty recommend. I presume with babies, this is not as easy said as done, but a four hour jaunt to a Park City coffee shop may make for a nice, inspirational change in scenery. I tend to write a lot about what I'm looking at through my office window--which explains, I guess, the numerous poems I've written about grass. Sometimes I turn around and write about green walls......

Dr. Write said...

I like the five page segment idea. I'm going for that. And yes, I am in a writing group (again, after taking the academic year off). It does help to have deadlines. So I was working on a self-contained article, but I think I'll shift gears and just try to get a chapter (no matter how shitty!) done. Also: I am going to plan a writers retreat. Somewhere. Maybe get that condo in Park City for two days. Works for me!
Thanks for the suggestions.
I also like to remember what William Stafford said. "I can write a poem a day if I just lower my standards." I will keep this in mind.