Some days, no matter how hard I try, writing doesn’t happen. That’s sounds passive, doesn’t it? Like writing is some little friend that visits or doesn’t. I’ve always loathed the idea of a muse, some little angel on my shoulder that makes my day a “good writing day” or not.
Today (at least the day I’m typing this) was one of those days where nothing got done. But I’m stubborn, and I sit in front of my computer anyway when this happens.
I know what has to be written. I know exactly what will happen, and it’s an important scene. But no matter how well I know it, I stare at the blank screen. Chapter 5. How to start? Does she walk in? Do we begin with some final instructions for babysitting? I’m too tired to even decide. So I flip over to Facebook.
I begin to type: Today, I’m not getting much done–
But then I erase it. Nobody cares about that. People don’t follow an author to hear that sort of thing. They want funny memes and pithy quotes. They want something insightful. “I’m tired” is both dopey and uninsightful.
I toodle around on my personal Facebook page for a while. Like a few things. Write “LOL” on some stuff that amuses me. But this is wasting my valuable writing time, so I go back to my blank page.
And I sit there, make a few starts that I erase. For a long time. Staring at it. This isn’t happening. I’m exhausted. I can squeeze out a few paragraphs that will be so dull that I’ll erase them tomorrow, or I can clean something.
My bathroom needs a scrub, so I roll up my sleeves and do that. Then I vacuum. I even use the hose to dust. Then I wipe down my kitchen, which reminds me I haven’t eaten. Maybe food will help.
It doesn’t. I sit back down in front of my blank screen. This is writing time. I will not watch Netflix. I will not play on Facebook. That is giving in. I look at the clock. I have another hour or so. If my editor called me right now and said, “Patricia, you are brilliant. We desperately want this book in ten days. Can you finish it?” I could do it. I could pour it on. But that’s only because I like to have my ego stroked, but I’ve never had an editor call me brilliant. Professional, yes. Talented, yes. Reliable, yes. Brilliant? No. That’s pure fantasy.
So I text a friend: Hi! What’re you up to?
Texting is better because you don’t have to explain yourself.
I add: Should be writing, but not.
So much for not explaining myself. She isn’t there. I turn back to the screen. Maybe my dad is around. I’ll call him.
He’s not there, either. I turn back to the screen. I will NOT abandon my post. I’m a writer, damn it. I write. I don’t watch Netflix during the day. I don’t waste perfectly good writing days.
Phone rings. It’s Mr. Johns. Oh, thank God! “Hi, honey. Miss me?” We chat a little, and that helps to clear some cobwebs. When we hang up, I realize I have twenty minutes until I have to pick up my son from school.
I’ll call it a day. I’ll try again tomorrow.
My phone blips. It’s my friend texting me back: Sorry, I was running a few errands. Busy day!
At least it was for one of us. 😉