Tag Archives: writing a novel

What we attend to, what we love

butterflytree_smGood morning, good morning. It’s dark and warm outside my Oakland city window this morning. We’re having a heat wave in the middle of winter, which is all fine and good until the reservoirs run out of water. My candle is lit and the coffee (decaf, but still) is brewing. This morning I woke steady and restless, ready to write and also wanting to burrow down under the covers for another several hours’ sleep. Do you get like that when there’s too much to do and you want to do all of it at one time?

I want to apologize for being absent here. These days I am doing a lot of other writing, mostly (as you may have noticed!) away from the blog. I spend my morning-pages in the notebook, and then open one of several book projects and get to work at editing. Last year I generated hundreds of pages of material for these different projects; I’m now wading through those words, reading to see what I’ve got, how much of it makes sense, and what more needs to be added.

This poem is my mantra these days. I’m working mostly offline on writing tasks that need more than a single sitting to generate, shifting myself away from the fragmented immediacy of social media, including the blog. I have created a writing schedule, and am allowing myself to focus in and deep — because, well, let me tell you a secret:

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in the slog

white graffiti on red brick -- the image is an outline of a headscarfGood morning — it’s April first! What foolishness are you getting into today? Outside my window the rain is making me believe I’m back in the East, like there’s some real spring happening, what with everything in flower and the tender transplanted roots of vegetables in the garden drinking up what the sky is offering. How about that for the first day of National Poetry Month — April’s the month to celebrate the necessary power of poetry, and/or to write your own.

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Today I woke up and spent some time with morning pages, then worked on my novel for about an hour. I’ve hit page 600 in the book. 600. Six-hundred pages of what now? Of backstory and morning writes and snippets generated during workshops and character development and rambling and the slow build toward plot discovery and story. The book isn’t done. It’s not quite near done. It’s certainly through the halfway marker, and we might have crossed the three-quarter point, but there’s still a lot of writing to go.

And this is just the first draft. Continue reading