Such a Perfect Day

I’m positive you recognize this situation – you’re a writer but lately life has been annoyingly all-consuming. It’s drowning you with things that need your immediate attention and you feel a little like a batter in baseball trying to hit all the balls but failing miserably. It’s not like you’re not thinking about writing, you actually think about it all the time because you’re anxious to get on with this story or that. You want to write but there’s just no time, no possible way to just shut off the world.

And then one day, maybe even in the middle of all the stress you’ve been working through, your muse sits down on your shoulder, dangles her tny legs down to your collar bone and tugs at your earlobe. You bow your head just a little and she whispers: “So, this is what happens next…” You pull out your laptop – or maybe you just open your preferred writing program, because your laptop has been sitting on your lap for most of the day already – and you start writing.

Maybe you finally finish that chapter you’ve been fussing over for far too long. Maybe you start something entirely new, something that’s been buzzing through your mind for awhile, something you have a good feeling about, a strong feeling. Maybe it’s just a short story, an essay. But you write. YOU WRITE.

You see, this is what happened yesterday. I didn’t write like they do in the movies, with a big, fat smile on my face, working through the night, finishing the Great American Novel – you all know how fake that particular stereotype is. I wrote for maybe two hours, about 1,500 words. That’s not so much, it’s not prolific but, hell yeah!, it was inspired. It was glorious. There are days, writing feels like this, when nothing else counts like the few words you put on digital paper.

If you’re a writer, if writing is part of your life, it wil make you feel many things. It can make you feel like the worst loser in the world when things are not coming along the way you want it to. It can make you feel like an explorer, like an adventurer, an innovator when you grab at some new style or found that plot twist that makes your story unique. It can make you feel like you’re on top of the world, overly-confident, maybe a little cocky – just because you wrote when you haven’t been writing for awhile. It can even feel like routine, the daily exercise you have to master. Writng is all that and then some.

And yesterday and to me it was just everything. I’m still feeling buzzed, elated. I wrote and it gave me renewed confidence that life is managable. A good day to write.

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Time to Write

How many times have you said, I will write tomorrow? Or next week, when there’s less stress at work? Or, I’ll start writing at the beginning of the month; I’ll make time for it come Monday? In that aspect writing is a little like dieting, isn’t it? There’s always a better time for it sometime in the future.

Writers will tell you that there’s never a good time to write unless you do it right now. You have to make time for it because time will not just present itself. That’s certainly true but as we all know, inspiration has its own rules, as well. There are times, I find it impossible to write. It has nothing to do with outer cirumstances or even my mood. I sit, I open a blank page or a story already begun and… nothing.

You know what it’s called (and will excuse me that I don’t write it aloud, I’m a superstitious person) but I find that if I don’t call it that it simply remains a lapse – a lapse in creativity, a momentary leave of absence from my dear muse. I like to think in terms like these, I like to think there’s some elfin, mischievous creature sitting somewhere in the recesses of my brain (a kind of 1920’s black and white flapper who smokes too much and plays jazz records all day) and refuses to cooperate with my writing schedule.

Not that I have a real schedule. This year, I like to write mornings till around noon, then take a break and go at it again in the afternoon till around six. Before that, I usually wouldn’t start writing before noon but work until 10 p.m. at least. There are times when I wake in the middle of the night and have to write a scene, a chapter, an idea or I won’t fall asleep for hours. I guess, that’s why we like talking about a muse because the mood can strke you whenever, wherever and suddenly you’re miles away. Who of us hasn’t scribbled ideas onto cocktail napkins? Or has excused themselves from the dinner table, maybe even at a nice restaurant, to go to the lady’s room to scribble down the outline of a story, a novel, or an essay?

Time to write is always, or never. Carpe tempus. The best thing to be is prepared. Always pack something to write, a notebook, a pen. Make sure the pen works. If you don’t have something on you, walk into the next shop and buy something. Pen and paper are not that expensive. Well, I’m old-school, your phone probably has a notebook-program or app or whatever it’s called… use that. The best thing you can do is to give your muse ways to reach you. ‘Cause if you don’t, she’ll tap you on the shoulder at the least opportune moment and say: Listen, this will be the next Potter – but you brush her aside, or you listen but forget and the next morning she won’t remember either because she had someone else’s muse over and they had been drinking and now she’s hung over… either way, she won’t tell you again.

The time to write… it may seem elusive, like the best day to go to the dentist, or the day to start your diet. But it’s today, right now. GO! WRITE!