I’m curled up on the couch in front of the fire this morning.  When I glance up, I see the orange flames first, and then the big picture window complete with a vase of rust colored chrysanthemums and a calico cat. She’s looking out into a mostly dark world, just  light enough for trees to loom in the mist. If I glance to my left, through the sliding door I see the outside cat looking in, his backdrop the rain wet yard, a cast iron dinner bell, and more mist shrouded trees. Each wants what the other has – in or out –

A teen age boy slouches at the table inhaling left over turkey and mashed potatoes before running off to meet the bus. He will be late, will scramble at the last moment, but for now he is completely present. Content with his lot in life, absorbed in a favorite food.

No work for me today, at least of the paid variety. There will be household chores and things that need to be done. But no need to rush around this morning getting ready for the day.

Which means no excuses for not writing, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Recently, I read an opinion that writer’s block is nothing more than fear. I suspect, in this case at least, that this is true. Revisions loom. I don’t usually get blocked on a first draft, because I expect it to be flawed and in need of further work.  It’s this process of deciding what stays, what goes, what to tell or not tell, that frightens me.

I fear my own ability to over revise, to over think. To take something that works, even though it is imperfect, and polish it into something lifeless and bland. Or alternatively to over do it, make it too big, too complex and overdone.

It occurs to me that I may be taking my writing too seriously. This book is not a matter of life and death.  I love it, but it is only one of many that I will write in my life.

It is what it is. And that is the trick, really: to accept it for what it is, and not try to make it something else.

Today I will be exploring possible alternatives, deepening characters, playing with motivations. And the good news is that writing is a little more flexible than making soup.  Extraneous words or ideas can be removed, unlike too much salt. Thanks to a backed up copy, it’s easy to retreat to a former version if an experiment doesn’t work.

That said, there are no excuses. Into the story I go, hopefully to emerge with some work well done at the end of the day. If not, I will at least have discovered several things that do not work. I’d prefer to venture into this maze with inspiration and enthusiasm, but I’ll settle for determination. Butt in chair, fingers on keys.

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