Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sticking to writing

The late Erma Bombech once wrote that when she rolled a blank piece of paper into the typewriter, she'd rather scrub windows or floors. That dates her, but many of us feel that way faced with a blank computer screen. Last night at a dinner I sat at a table that included Newell Williams, president of TCU's Brite Divinity School. He is taking a semester (maybe a year) from his duties to write a history of the Campbellite movement. When I asked how it was going, he said fine and then went on to say that the big thing was to find if he could really spend three days a week in isolation writing. And he found he could. More power to him.
I write sporadically. I was an enthusiastic 9,000 words into a new manuscript when life distracted me--a manuscript to edit, a crisis at TCU Press that required some work, blogging, Facebook, paying bills, the ordinary things of life--plus reading this or that mystery I'd gotten involved in. (I hope my agent isn't reading this!) I have every good intention now of getting back to it, because when I do I'll be carried away with it and find, like Newell did, that I can indeed write for long stretches--and it's a joy. No, I can't write for eight hours as some do, but I write fast and can get a lot of words on a page in a three-hour session. But every day so far something has distracted me. Yesterday was a hectic day, and today lots of piddling things--both at my desk and still straightening my house from having 14 people for dinner Sunday--kept me busy all morning. Plus I dutifully bagged up a lot of dog poop to put out for the garbage tomorrow--maybe you didn't want to know that, but it about killed my back.
After a nice lunch with Sue and her son Hunter, who explained that he was going with us because he was sick (coughing all night from allergies), I came home and called Greg, who came down and planted all the things I'd bought yesterday--herbs, sweet potato plants, etc. He hung a hanging plant and pointed out that two pots didn't have drainage holes, but he thinks he can drill them. The porch is already looking so much  better than it did last summer, when I paid it little attention.
But then again, the afternoon was too far gone to start anything, so I took a nap, and tonight I'm back to that novel. Tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday don't look much better for writing, but it's on my mind.
Good dinner tonight--leftover sirloin strips from the taco party with goat cheese and cilantro. Maybe because the meat was warmer tonight, the cheese kind of mushed up and was delicious. I stir-fried some sugar snap peas and sliced mushrooms, and then spluged on half of the piece of Black Forest Cake I had left. Weight Watchers has no points for it, but I had two points for the day and arbitrarily assigned it two points--probably not enough but self-delusion is great.

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