Thursday, January 03, 2013

Learning about myself

I think I have learned something about myself as a writer. It's about time, after almost forty years. But last night, when I bemoaned having written only one sentence for the day, I went on to reach about 1200 words for my day's total. Not record-breaking, but respectable, especially when I remember the beloved history prof who used to say “A page a day (250 words in the day when we used the Courier font) is a book a year.” No, 1200 words is respectable. But I wrote those when everyone was gone, and the house was quiet.

Today went by in what kind of flurry I don’t know. I spent almost two hours on the phone with various tech people, sorting out what was wrong with my printer—all the color prints came out yellow. After all that time and a lot of self-testing of the printer, I was told I need new color cartridges. Usually the printer warns you, “Magenta ink low,” and such. But it said nothing this time. So tomorrow I buy cartridges and await a follow-up call from Hewlett Packard. To be fair, both HP and Staples were courteous to a fault, and I was grateful for their help—it just seemed silly to come up with such a simple, obvious solution after all that folderol. The rest of the day was absorbed in fixing dinner for company tonight—Jacob’s friend Max and his grandparents plus Jacob’s parents—and in a pleasant lunch with a longtime colleague from TCU. And, yes, a nap. So I told myself when everyone left tonight, I would write. This would be my new schedule: at night, writing my thousand words would be my priority, above blogging, Facebook, reading, all of that.

But after the company left, Elizabeth wandered in and Jordan, who was about to tackle the dishes, wanted to sit, have another glass of wine, and visit. So the evening wore away, and then I found myself, as I so often do, in the kitchen doing dishes. Actually it’s never a chore—she had stacked them—and it doesn’t take long. But the goal of writing began to fade.

Still I came to my office about 8:45 and started to write—and pretty soon I had doubled that 1200 words. I know not all of it is golden, and I’ll re-read and wonder where my head was. But I’m getting words and ideas on paper. And to my mind it’s a pretty good start on January 3 for a new novel.

So maybe I’ll try a new routine: I’ll blog, take care of business—personal finances, marketing, etc.—during the day and write at night when the house is quiet. I’m not making resolutions this year, so I’m not putting this in that form. It’s just an experiment I want to try. We’ll see.


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