48 days, day 5: avoiding the draft

{{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}

Day 5: Avoiding the Draft.

Not THAT draft. Although I'm avoiding book three of the sixties project right now, probably because I'm a little in shock that I would actually think to move the book from 1968 to 1969, after all the reading and research I've done on 1968. More on that later.

The draft I'm avoiding is the Rachel draft I finished yesterday that needs So Much Work. I have found eleven-hundred other things to do today that have kept me from sitting down to this draft until an hour ago when I knew I was going to have to be accountable here for my writing day. (See how this works? huh.)

I bought cat food.

I consulted four times outside in the 95-degree heat with Roger, who is truly finishing up this long, long project with our yard, helping us manage water flow and create an edible landscape.

I read. Now, reading is essential. I want to fit it into every day I live. When I'm on a tight deadline, the only reading I'm doing is the manuscript or research. When I'm not, like now, reading for pleasure and reading for work are necessary. Maybe two hours in the middle of the day isn't necessary, when I've got these precious 48 days in which to write like mad. Maybe I'm still finding my rhythm. I want to cut myself a break.

I did get up early and get right to it, sitting down with the manuscript. There is nothing stopping me from revising today except me. Am I afraid of the story? No. Am I afraid to be messy? Heavens no, I've been nothing BUT messy with this draft for 16 years. Am I avoiding work? Well... yes.

Writing. Is. Hard. Work. At least it is for me. It requires so much attention, energy, focus, stamina, structure, skills, and strength -- strength of mind and heart. Maybe I just didn't have all that today. Am I making excuses? Maybe. Am I for-real? Yeah. We never know what private stuff someone may be wrestling, and it turns out some news from a friend yesterday has me slightly off-balance today.

Not that I can't write through it. I can and I have in the past. Today I gave myself the luxury (or the punishment -- I guess it depends on how you look at it) of a partial day off. I'm going to work for an hour now. I promise. Then I'm going to work outside -- we've got so much going on out there, it's a sort of constant distraction, but I won't use that as an excuse... this outside work gives me a good chance to move and stretch and sweat -- it's so hot and sunny and humid it hurts. ATL in June.

So let's say I'm going to work from 4 to 5pm -- 5:30. And then work in the yard for an hour. And then get a shower and make a salad (if Jim doesn't beat me to it) to take it to pot luck with friends tonight. By the time I get home, my overly-full head will drift onto the pillow in sleep. Tomorrow will be better.

How about you? Did you work/write today? Will you?


  1. I enjoy reading about your process of writing. I am not a writer, but a retired teacher. I am not sure why, but when you blog about your writing process it always intrigues me:)
    I think summer just calls us away from our tasks. At least that is what I say anyway. Gardening and just soaking up the long days are just part of summer. It isn't writing for me, but just the things I need to take care of around the house.

    1. Hi, Sandy. I think you're right. Thanks for these thoughts... summer is so short, even when it seems unending because of the heat. Such a short few weeks, really, to participate in the hallmarks of summer. It's no wonder I'm pulled to them. Outdoors (only early mornings and late evenings, though, while it's close to 100 every day) and indoors. Thanks. You may be a retired teacher... you are also a good writer.


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