Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing with Enthusiasm

Say that something's in the air: the changing of seasons, exhaust from the cars, baby gifts to the world as strollers (aka buggies) whirl past our little home on Lesley Avenue. Whatever the case, enthusiasm has been my best friend lately.

There are those days when the writing feels hard to begin. When e-mail seems a lot more exciting, or easier, and reworking that MG manuscript or picture book idea for the 21st time doesn't doesn't seem to possess the YES! that it sometimes does.

This past year in England, though, writing has become more of a Show Up endeavor. Specifically, this process of writing not by emotion but by will entails two parts:

1. Show up.
2. Write.

The more I show up at the computer each morning, afternoon, or night (depending on Tyler's sleep schedule), the more the Emotion, the Inspiration, and the YES! decide to join me. In other words, once those Lovely Three start to learn, hey, this guy's going to write his brains and heart out no matter what, it's like they decide, Okay, well, if he's that loyal, let's go give the guy some company.

And lately, enthusiasm has been pounding through my heart and fingers--even when I haven't recently poured myself a cup of strong-beyond-belief coffee.

Take today, for instance. After dropping Tyler off at pre-school this afternoon, I came home and went straight up to the computer. Before I checked e-mail--always the culprit that sucks time like a Hepa-Filter-Super-Powered-Vacuum-Cleaner--I opened up my MG work-in-progress, Fortress (about a Muilsim boy, a Jewish girl, a Christian owner of an old, falling-apart movie theater, a Grandmother with Alzheimer's who, only at three a.m., is struck coherent and relates a story about York, England from 1198 that involves King Richard the First, Robin Hood, the Crusades, and a little girl named Liljiana who loves flowers).

I wrote and I wrote and I wrote.

I wrote like my characters were no longer characters. As though the letters of my keyboard were very, very tiny orange lifesaving floats that I had to furiously press repeatedly to get them to reach the characters but then--

Oh no!

Something would inevitably happen and my characters had to find out how to deal with the new storm, the new joy, the new complexity.

All that to say, this afternoon, writing was not writing. Writing was living for a group of people whom I could watch being created by fingers that moved across the keyboard that were not my own.

I wish every writing day could be like today. But the ones that are not hold their own beauty, their own excitement. (Even if that excitement only happens to be a single line that is made right after forty attempts at the sucker.)

But man, I sure an grateful for days like today: when emotion and will mix and create one heck of a little baby.