Saturday, January 30, 2010

"When do you write?"

I cringe when some well-meaning person asks me this question. I am sure they are picturing someone at a desk at 4 am, charts and outlines of her novel neatly displayed, soft music playing, a goal of 500 words to meet.

In contrast, I am often lying on the couch at random times, struggling to type around an insistent calico cat, dropping chocolate cake crumbs and sighing in frustration. For example I have three projects all bubbling merrily away in a messy stew: my firefighting memoir, which I need to condense and shape to a more manageable flow; an erratic collection of wilderness ramblings that I would like to turn into a book of essays; and my poor Alaska novel that limps along for a page or two every five years.

I wish I could be more organized about it, but life just gets in the way. I want, no I need, to get outside after a week of breathing recycled air. During the work week I spend ten hours a day staring at a computer screen. There is yoga, pilates, writers group, the pub..

This is why I used to go to the Oregon coast to write. The trick is to go to a nice place but not so nice that it draws you outside all the time. At the coast, you basically have the beach and the woods, so I would go out to hike or run, then come back in to write, repeat. No distractions.

I'll have to do better. Starting today. After I come back from snowshoeing, hiking in to check out a snowed-in house for sale, ice skating, playing with dogs, making a minestrone soup, and checking my Facebook.


  1. Location and position of author irrelevant; the wrting that results from wherever and however you are is awesome. (And if I wrote more, that's probably the way I'd do it, too!)

  2. Aww. good luck finding time. You have this blog, though. That's writing!


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