Monday, December 1, 2008

Let the spirit move you

Once I got rolling on this blog, it was exciting to discover:
  1. how much I enjoyed writing for it
  2. how much I looked forward to writing for it
I'm a writer and editor by trade and spend much of my day, well, writing and editing as the director of marketing for my employer, a high-tech firm here in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, writing and editing have often been the last things I want to do when I get home in the evening or over the course of a weekend.

That's been a bit frustrating for me as I have loads of personal projects that I've started over the years -- short stories, scribblings for mysteries, the skeleton of a novel or two -- but have never finished. However, I didn't feel the compulsion to work on them and never felt like I could force it. When I was ready to write, when the creative spirit moved me to do so, I would.

I guess I failed to realize that the creative spirit sometimes needs a bit of a kick in the pants to wake up from its stupor and get into gear. Walks in the Marsh appears to provide that necessary jolt to help get my mind engaged again about writing for my own pleasure.

I thought this blog would be a collection of short observations, maybe some links here and there to interesting stuff on the web. As anyone who has read this blog over the last few months has discovered, it didn't quite work out that way as on occasion my blog entries get a bit more...robust. I occasionally find myself spending an entire evening pouring over something I'm writing and loving the process. It's been a long time since I felt that way about my own personal work.

As a result, I rediscovered some of the larger projects that lay dormant for many years. Among them is a fantasy novel that I first starting playing with in the summer of 1991 when the initial ideas for a few scenes came to me while on a camping trip in the South Dakota Badlands with my father and sister. As the years progressed, I expanded the concept, wrote whole chapters, attended a class on getting published out of which came a short-lived but engaging writers group that gave me great feedback, revised and scrapped large sections, compiled a 50+ page outline, and left it to gather dust for long stretches of time.

In recent weeks, the novel emerged, refreshed and revitalized, and ripe for a complete rethinking. That's what's happening now. Massive sections of the 50-page outline are falling by the wayside and a new approach is on the boards. I discovered a new tool -- Scrivener -- that not only seems to suit my organizational, brainstorming, and writing styles but also helps make the task of writing the first book in a potential trilogy somewhat less daunting. I'm fired up about this project now.

Somewhat to my surprise, I suddenly find myself making the transition from "God, that last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer anymore today" to "Cool, I'm home and have time to work on my blog/my novel!" And therein lies the challenge. Time spent working on the novel is time away from the blog. Time on the blog is time away from the novel. Of course, time spent on either of them is time away from family but my wife, engrossed in her own writing efforts, seems to understand completely as illustrated by her willingness (eagerness, perhaps LOL) to leave me for a large part of a weekend day to go work on her own project at the library or a coffee shop.

In the grand scheme of things, it's a worthwhile problem to have -- two writing projects that I find engaging and stimulating. I'm simply going to have to figure out how to give enough time to both so they each thrive. I figure if I get hung up on one, I can switch to the other to keep up the momentum.

Who knows if I'll finish the big project or not. I know I can write something that long and involved, having written an absolutely god-awful novel my first year of college (frighteningly bad and cliché-ridden, it is a document that will never see the light of day). Hopefully, if I do finish this one, it will be a damn sight better than the first attempt.

So just a warning...if I go quiet here on Walks in the Marsh for a few days at a time, it's probably because I'm on a roll on the other project. When the spirit moves you, you go with it. I'm writing again! Hallelujah!

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