rockinlibrarian: (rebecca)
This year is the first in ...nine?... that I'm not starting the One Book activities manual writing this month, and I find myself curiously discomforted by this.

It had started pre-kids, while I was working at the Children's Museum, and the Museum had been asked to supply an activities manual to go with an activities trunk for the brand-new PA One Book Every Young Child program, and the Educational Director, having just discussed the Museum's circulating book collection with me since I was in fact an MLIS at that point (even though I was working the floor of a Children's Museum), suddenly looked at me and asked, "Hey, can you write?"

For most of this past almost-decade I didn't even count this as really writing, because I wasn't writing stories from my imagination. That awful voice in my head kept taunting me about NOT WRITING, even though I wasn't just writing, and publishing, but getting PAID for it. I admit I got a kick out of filling in Schedule C-EZ lines A and B of the taxes each year, because the IRS didn't care that I didn't feel like a "real" writer. Writing was what I'd been paid to do, so "Writer, Activity Manual, Business Code 711510" is what I was. I just didn't appreciate it until I didn't have it anymore.

I keep thinking of my writing process for One Book. How I'd feel all proud of myself for color-coding my notes and putting activity ideas in order like I'd done something impressive. How I'd keep getting distracted but I'd make myself work, in little pockets, "Okay you can check Twitter again AFTER you finish this paragraph!" How I'd take drafts of pages with me to work on in bits while waiting to pick up Maddie from preschool. As weird as it sounds, I MISS that. I miss HAVING something to work with, to work TOWARD.

And I now realize that I WAS working, to an extent, like a real writer. The ones I follow on Twitter, speaking of Twitter, are always talking about these little tricks they use to get the work done. It makes it seem like a chore, but I realize how much I enjoyed it now that, well, I don't have anybody counting on me to get the work turned in.

Because I could easily adapt those techniques to working on my own stories. But without that external motivation, the committee saying "We need the manual activities by this date!" --I mean, that's the only problem. It's so easy for That Voice to tell me that nobody CARES whether I write MY stories. But if I COULD, if I could ignore the Lone Power long enough to work on writing other things the way I worked on One Book-- I see now that it IS POSSIBLE. Tomorrow school starts. Tomorrow I'll have five afternoons a week-- okay, three, I work two of those-- with NO ONE ELSE to distract me. No one else but me. But if it's my JOB to get SOMETHING on paper/screen, I don't know, maybe I have a chance.

Because I also realize that my freaking out over the past few years, worrying that I'm no longer a writer or I don't want to be one anymore or I CAN'T be one anymore or I'm just stuck on old dreams that no longer apply-- I realize that I was stressing over nothing. Well, almost nothing. I still have creativity blockages and motivational issues and whatnot, but my basic identity as a writer is so ingrained that I can't even dream at night without my dream self attempting to write everything down as it happens and plotting out how I could adapt what I see into a proper story. My dream self knows exactly what I am, and tells other people in the dream that. "I'm a writer."

This morning my husband, the one who doesn't get the point of art, the one who's completely jaded to the concept of Following Ones Dreams and Finding Ones Purpose, he was chattering about a new RPG campaign he and his best friend wanted to start-- as I've said before, they "meet" to game over Skype, and they like me to play too because it's more fun with at least three people. He was encouraging me with character generation ideas when he said, "See, I'm hoping thinking about this might inspire you to help you get back into your own writing." He said that? My clueless husband? I started to cry and ran over immediately to hug him. He worried that his description of his post-apocalyptic game-world had freaked me out. But I was just relieved.

I really am running out of excuses not to write.

Date: 2014-08-28 05:30 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] kim aippersbach (from

Yes. Accountability. If you're the only one who cares, why do it? You need someone to be on your case, to tell you to quit whining and get some pages written. But hey: you've already got a built-in audience who knows you can write and thinks you do it rather well. Your blog readers will happily be the committee that says "we need x amount of writing by this date."

So what are you going to have for us by the end of September? Flash fiction piece? Character study for a possible novel? A few paragraphs of memoir? (You don't have to actually share it with us, though we'd love it if you did. You can just tell us what you've done.)(We trust you!)

You have no more excuses now. :)

Date: 2014-08-30 01:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]

I actually feel I can beat your challenge, which is kind of encouraging! I have two short pieces nearly to the point of Complete Draft. There's an early chapter book, which will be interesting to revise-- I have the basic idea of the flow of an easy-reader-chapter book because that's the level my son's at right now, but I'm not sure my vocabulary is controlled enough. And there's a bit of fanfiction I've been jotting down for a few years and finally decided to crack down and finish (over months) only because I realized E. Louise Bates would like it. ACCOUNTABILITY! Or, writing for other people. Both of these are actually at the stage where I've typed them in order (I draft longhand and not necessarily in order) and just have a little gap in the middle somewhere where I'm not sure what happens.

But it's highly POSSIBLE that I can get at least one of these completely drafted even BEFORE the end of September!

Over on Twitter this week, E. Lockhart's ( been chronicling the writing challenges laid out for her by other writer friends this week-- it really is encouraging to see that the greats can use somebody expecting something from them, too!


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