I used to have an image in my head of the “perfect” writing day. In the summer, this perfect day took place on a comfy park bench at the downtown harbor, where I’d sip at a tall cup of Starbucks coffee and compose my masterpiece on a laptop that sat easily on my lap. In the winter, I would be sitting at my desk in my perfectly decorated, artistically-messy office, with a cup of tea at my side and a soundtrack or classical music playing at a moderate level through my headphones.
Pardon me a moment while I laugh and choke at my own pretentiousness.
I’ve since discovered that real life writing isn’t anything like that. And, honestly, I don’t know anyone who actually does write like that!
My writing generally takes place in the living room nowadays. I boot up my computer and start typing, standing with my keyboard balanced on the top of a bookshelf (hey, they say standing desks are good for you nowadays, right?). My soundtrack is either the too-happy-for-my-story music of a kids’ show or car noises as my son crashes his two police cars together. Just as I’m hitting my stride and getting to an interesting fight scene or something, I have to stop to kiss a stubbed toe. Then I’ll just be hitting my stride again when the chime on the washing machine goes off. Then a sippy cup refill. Then someone texts about the church Valentine’s Day party in two days.
If I do get to my office, it’s usually cold, despite the fact that my husband just recently installed more insulation. I turn on my space heater, which promptly begins to roast my feet while leaving my upper body feeling like it’s submerged in ice. I blast classic rock at unhealthy levels from my headphones because it’s the only time I get to listen to music I like and because it blocks out my son and husband’s voices from downstairs (I love ’em, but neither one of ’em has any concept of an inside voice). I can’t find anything because the office is a dumping ground for all the stuff we don’t know what to do with. And it still has paint splotches on the wall from where I was trying to decide what color to paint it…a year and a half ago.
But you know what? Since I started making it a priority to write at least 4 days out of the week, and got over the fact that the conditions had to be “perfect”, I’ve managed upwards of 8,000 words a week. At this rate, I should finish my SuperWhoLock fanfiction by the end of February, with enough material to last me for the rest of the year, and still have plenty of time to devote to other, original projects.
This has been greatly encouraging to me, as I’ve struggled for years to write even more than 5oo words a day. I feel good about the fact that, even though conditions aren’t “perfect”, I feel closer to completing my dreams than I ever have before.
2015 is, so far, shaping up to be a pretty good year. 🙂