Wednesday, August 5, 2009

be inspired: now


I have no idea what to write about. I sat down with my notebook today and managed a short page of nothing and thought: let's try the laptop. Magic keys. Maybe the tap tappity tap will let loose a story my pen couldn't keep up with. Maybe just sitting in front of this shiny magic laptop, fingers dancing lightly on the keyboard - maybe a channel will open and I'll be inspired. Now.

Not so.

Last summer I was pregnant and my husband and I couldn't agree on a girl name. We didn't really agree on a boy name either, but Justin gave up resisting my choice after awhile. Still, we were stuck for a girl name. I asked my mother if she had any ideas.

"I've always liked the name Claire," Mom said.

Claire didn't sound bad to us either.

So today I said to Mom, "What should I write a book about? Your nomination won last time. Maybe you'll win again."

"I don't know, Sarah," she said.

Neither do I. And I think that this could become a problem. Not yet, not quite yet. But if I don't figure out what I am going to write an entire book about soon (like, tomorrow), how goes the whole project of actually writing a book!? What if it takes me a year to think of something I want to commit two or three hundred pages to telling?

So here is what I am deciding, to give myself a little peace: I need a book idea by October. Or rather, I need to choose a book idea. I've got gobs of ideas but they all fall flat because I also have gobs of reasons why none of the ideas are worth developing. By October, I need to know.

This reminds me of a writing exercise I've used many times. (I think this is from Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind or Writing Down the Bones, both excellent books). Halfway down your page, draw a line. Write, write, write until you get to that line. Just pour it all out. When you hit the line, stop. Write "What I really want to write about is ___" and finish that. Then go finish your page with what you really want to write about.

I think that's what I am doing now with a book idea. I'm freewriting. Just dumping a bunch of ideas in my notebook and on my laptop and hoping that something sifts to the top. Hoping that I see that flash in the pan and look closer. Come October, I should have a much clearer idea of what I really want to write about.

Or maybe I'm just still too chicken to get started.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I enjoy writing practice and (sometimes) think that I am getting better. I am great at starting a piece only to abandon it because it wouldn't go anywhere anyway."
from your profile.
Most people's lives are collections of beginnings. [I need to learn something here too.]
You go !