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These Are the Days...

Posted: January 15th, 2010, 9:25 am
by Alena Thomas
"It's easy to stop making mistakes. Just stop having ideas." ~ Unknown

We’ve all had them. Days when everything you write is pure gold. Days when the words flow so easily onto the page, it’s like you are floating outside your body. When you, yourself, stand back in quiet awe of your brilliance. Days when it feels like the universe has aligned especially for you and you are even better than your mother always said you were. These are the days a writer lives for. Days when everything is great. Your writing. Your characters. Your plot. Sheer perfection. Days you look out the window and watch the puppies and Skittles fall from the sky.

Then there are the other days. You know the ones I’m talking about. The days when you drop everything you pick up. The days when you are sure there are demonic elves three steps ahead of you hiding everything you’re looking for. The days your hair is perfect…the sun is shining…the birds are singing. Until you walk outside and the skies open up and dump a monsoon on you. And you don’t have your umbrella. And there is a crater in the sidewalk that wasn’t there yesterday. And you step in it. Wearing your favorite shoes.

But for writers, there are even worse days. I had one yesterday. Days when you spend hours struggling against the tide. The words won’t come…so you push. And push. And push. You write what you think the reader would want to read. Big mistake. You fill your head with your own thoughts. Bigger mistake. You write what you think is “sellable”. Biggest mistake.

I knew even as I filled the pages…I don’t want to use the word ‘write’ because I most definitely was NOT doing that…it was crap. I knew my characters wouldn’t say the things I was typing. I knew it was weak and frivolous and ghastly. But my little fingers moved across the keyboard as if I were the next Harper Lee. I hummed along happily and when I lay my head down on my pillow, I felt peaceful in my denial.

Until 3am.

I sat up straight in my bed and I swear I heard the words. “Really?? You’re going to leave it like THAT??” My character was not happy. “I would never say that.” He said. “Why would you have us do that?” He ranted. “Don’t you know us at all??”

I argued with him for about twenty minutes then felt a strong kick in… Anyway, I got out of my nice, warm bed. My feet shuffled across the floor and down the stairs, my loyal Shih-Tzu sleepily following. Begrudgingly, I turned on my trusty Bunn and opened the window in front of my desk. A cool wind blew in the night as the smell of my favorite coffee beans filled the air.

Glancing over at Phantom, now curled up on his favorite chair and sleeping the sleep of the innocent, I silently wished I could trade places with my furry friend. Knowing I could procrastinate no longer, I swallowed hard and yielded to the dreaded deed.

START *click* Microsoft Word *click* document *click* Page down…page down…page down…. Until there it was staring at me like the ugly, disgusting pimple you used to get right before a big date.

I leaned back in my chair and rubbed my face. Maybe it’s not that bad. I started telling myself. Maybe some of it’s useful. “Just shut-up and do it!” My character was definitely losing what little patience he has.

Then, in the darkness of the night, I saw it. My deliverance. A single ray of sun shone down on my savior. The ‘Delete’ key.

In one brief moment, every worthless word I had written was gone. Just like that. In the flicker of a butterfly’s wing it was as if my momentary lapse had never happened. The bright blank page looking back at me a symbol of absolution. Relief filled me as I threw myself back in my chair, a grateful smile lighting my face.

“Yeah…and??” He mocked me. “Great, you know how to erase. Bravo. Now, get back to work.”

As I listened to my beloved, albeit exasperating main character, my fingers started dancing across the keys. In the shadowy stillness, the only sounds I heard were my dog’s deep breathing, my own heartbeat and the sweet sound of clicking.

So today I start again…like all writers do over and over, but I am not worried. I checked the weather report and yes, my babies, puppies and Skittles all day.

Re: These Are the Days...

Posted: January 15th, 2010, 5:35 pm
by Terry
Oh yes, my protagonist is a nuisance to me in the midddle of the night, too

Great post. Best of luck:)