I was not as disciplined this past week as I’d planned to be. I was not at all consistent at sitting down, maintaining focus, and actually producing coherent words and phrases in the latest and newest draft.
But, boy, oh boy, was I able to manufacture plenty of excuses for not getting down to work.
"The laundry is piling up. The cat box needs to be cleaned. That wall needs to be painted. The garden looks like hell. We need groceries. I want to go for a bike ride. I need to get to the gym."
You name the excuse. This past week I used it.
From the other end of the room, I eyed my chair. After a moment, I picked up the laptop. I crossed the room. I sat down. I powered up the computer. I opened the document on which I've been working. I stared at the characters splashed across the screen.
I winced. I looked away. I took a breath. I looked back.
I began to read. I began to think. I began to attend.
And, invariably, what occurred is exactly what always does happen, but what I tell myself time and again simply cannot happen, not this time and certainly not today.
The words and phrases start to come.
First, I begin to read and to assess. I notice a particular sentence that can certainly be edited and improved. I observe a paragraph that comes across as a bit clumsy where it's now placed, but that it might just work better and make a little more sense if it were to move elsewhere in the draft. And, good heavens! Why did I ever think that this character would ever say something like that.?
And I'm slowly drawn in. The mechanics come first: a word changes here and another changes there. The questionable paragraph is cut from its current spot and pasted into the new position. The character makes a more fitting statement, or is rendered silent so that a different character cans speak.
And from the mechanics, I move on to the creative - fresh dialogue, new plot lines, a more nuanced character. And I keep writing.
And all I needed to do to get myself started was to sit down.