It's Friday. It's 3 p.m. I'd planned to be done writing by now, to have picked up Bella from the vet, to be at the gym preparing to meet Steph for dinner. I'd planned to have crossed a lot more off my list by now. As usual, my list is bigger than my brain. I'm slowing down.
I cherish these writing Fridays that I've carved out for myself. I'm going to miss next Friday due to other obligations, so I've tried to cram a lot into today. I learned a new content management system this morning and had 1800 words and two articles out by noon. Since then, I've written three-and-a-half posts for BlogHer and am starting to have trouble producing my normal vocabulary, a sure sign I'm about to short out like a flickering flashlight. I'm trying to harness the last few bits of power before everything goes dark.
I'd hoped to work on my children's book this afternoon, but I can tell I'm going to run out of time. I don't know anything about writing kids' books, but I've had an idea rattling around in my head for two years, and now that I have some time, it's coming together, bit by bit.
I started a novel and got two pages in before I realized I needed more couch time to let the outline emerge. I can't remember who said writing was like pulling a bucket up from the bottom of a well, but that's how the longer, creative stuff feels. Articles are easy, anything based on research is easy, but creating something new ... that's something else altogether. I can kind of see the idea down there, but right now the reflections glancing off the water's surface have blinded me. I think that novel is going to take even longer than the one sitting in my desk drawer took. I hope this one is better than the desk drawer one. The desk drawer one never got off the rope even after I painstakingly pulled it up from the depths.
Someone asked me recently if I'm going to do another anthology. Not right now, not one of my own. It was an incredible experience, but I have to admit it's exhausting to corral 23 other people. I can't even seem to get myself through my lists these days -- the idea of encouraging and goading other writers is more than I can wrap my head around. And there is a very deep desire in me to publish something as an author instead of an editor.
But I don't know what kind of a writer I am. The writers I admire most are those impossible to pin down, those who write novels and nonfiction and essays and poetry and screenplays and children's books without regard to genre. I don't want to be pigeonholed, even if that means conventional success. The side effect? I look at my list and can't tell if I have any focus at all. I don't know if that will hurt me or help me. I'm no longer sure exactly what I'm trying to achieve here, but I know I'm barreling forward regardless. I've been writing now for six hours without getting up except to pee and grab some chili for lunch, and I can't figure out how the time flew by so fast. I learned in college this is called "flow" and is what life is all about, doing something so balanced between challenge and mastery one literally becomes unaware of time. I wish I could do this all day every day. I wonder if I will ever succeed enough at writing, master it enough, to be paid a living wage to do so every day. I hope so.
But even if I don't, nothing feels as good, or as exhausting, as a 5,000 word day.