My pseudo-supervisor (long story) looked at me hard and long the other day and said, “your problem is, you think too much.”  It’s not the first time that I’ve heard these words.  David says exactly the same thing.  A lot.  Like a mantra.

When more than one person, within a 24 hour period of time, delivers a similar sentiment about some personal quality of mine, I figure it’s time to at least consider whether the charge is legitimate.

So I thought about it, too much, and realized that they are probably right.  All of that over thinking obscures what is really important.  I read things into occurrences and comments that were never there in the first place, I create difficulties where there really were none.  And I forget about what is important.

All roads and avenues of thought eventually lead back to my writing, and as I thought about over thinking, I realized that what is important in my writing life is the writing.  When I spend too much time thinking about publishers and agents and rejections, when I spend too much time reading the Blogs of other writers who are more disciplined and structured than I am, I lose sight of one very important thing:  Why I Write.

I would write if there was no hope of publication.  I would write if nobody in the world, ever, was going to read what is created through me.  I write because of who I am and what I am meant to do here on this planet.  And I do believe in some cosmic “meant to do” list that I’m here to complete.  Writing is a soul thing, a drive, a way of being in this world.  It’s my job, my task, to get the writing done and send it out into the world.  And then it’s out of my hands, and time to move onto the next book.

I don’t ‘create’ my novels as such.  They come to me, in glimmers and snatches, newspaper headlines and random people I meet at the grocery store.  I’m often surprised by where a story takes me.  Somebody the other day, I think it was Diane Gallant, was talking about the difference between “plotters” and “pantsers” – ie., those writers who sit down and plot things out carefully before they begin to write, vs. those of us who make it up as we go along.  But, once I got done over thinking that one, I realized that the term “pantser” doesn’t really fit, because I’m not really “making it up.”  It’s more like listening.  I keep my fingers moving and open a channel to my subconscious, or the collective unconscious, or whatever it is that finds its way out through my fingers, and the story takes shape without a lot of help from me.   Of course, once it’s down, it’s my job to shape and polish and prune and tighten, but the initial draft, the rough draft, is an entirely different thing.

As for publication – well, if I’m perfectly honest I’m ambivalent about that.  I love the idea of seeing a book with my name on it on a book store shelf.  I love the idea of making enough money to quit my day job and live by my writing alone.  But when I start thinking about people everywhere reading what I’ve written, I immediately start over thinking again and I worry a lot about what will people think. (I think I’m going to need an entire post on this one.)

The conclusion I have reached in my rambling thoughts, is that I need to stop thinking about where the writing will take me, to continue to send out queries as part of this contract I seem to have with the powers that be, to continue to shape the ideas that come to me for the novel I am working on now, to continue to live in the writing world, not the publishing world, over which I have so little control.

And to remember that, for me, writing is like breathing, and therefore All Writing Counts – journal writing, Blog writing, character sketches, exercises.  Everything.  (Well, maybe not the grocery list)  Because publication is a Goal, but not the Point.  

What is the point?  Writing, of course.  It always comes back, every time, to the writing.

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