Friday, June 6, 2008

Reunited and It Feels So Good

The romance is back -- for me and my novel. After some rough times, we’re honeymooning again. I’ve been working away, happily lost in the world I’m creating, hardly noticing my fingers as they type. I leave the computer with reluctance, long to return to it when I’m away.

This is not always the case. Some days, I’ll do anything to avoid the computer. Suddenly I have to clean the blinds, hang a shower curtain, prepare a three course dinner. If I drag myself to the computer, I may produce something, but it’s a painful process, and usually not very fruitful.

Now if I could just figure out what makes the difference between a happy writing day and a forced one. For the past week I’ve been experimenting with quitting while I’m ahead. I committed to a manageable goal, 1,000 words written or edited a day, and once I have met that goal, have let myself quit for the day. My inner critic protested of course. “But you only wrote 1,000 words! What about editing? What about research? What about finishing by September 1? The book will never get done at this pace.” I told her to shut up and wait for the results.

After a week I’ve found that if I stop when I still have creative energy left, I am happier for the rest of the day, and anxious to return to work the next morning. I’m left wanting more.

So now I’m thinking that maybe I need to monitor my creative energy the way I do my physical energy. Over the past year I’ve learned how to eat to keep my blood sugar levels steady. I notice when it’s getting too low, and generally prevent that from happening. If I can learn to notice my creative energy levels, recharge preventatively, and quit before I’m dangerously depleted, I hope to have a steady supply available for the book and other ventures.

I guess I’ve done a good job this week, because I’m already planning a tryst with my book some time this weekend.

Shout out to my parents who celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary today! They are an inspiration in keeping the romance alive!


sulu-design said...

Hmmm... so interesting. I'd never thought of creative energy like I think of physical energy. I like this outlook.
Happy Anniversary to the Owsiks!

Mr. Ackerman said...

Interestingly, my favorite James Madison Fellow - Bret from Reno - once told me that when he reads, which is often a lot for a graduate student in History - he'll stop reading right in the middle of a passage or paragraph he really enjoys. This leaves him with that desire you mentioned - the desire to return to the work. Unfortunately, as someone who enjoys running marathons - I always prod through to the end of the chapter or the end of the book. Often times, I am so methodical - as in running - I don't really comprehend what I am reading. While running, there are times when I am unaware of what's around me. I become focused on the steps in front of me as I jog after that next mile - or that next paragraph, next page, next chapter, next book. Then when I find myself in my graduate class. The professors aren't interested in the minute detail in the pages of the book but the overall argument of the author. When I focus too much on each step in front of me, I forget that I'm running through my beautiful neighborhood in Narberth. Thanks Julie for helping me see that we need energy, so that we don't lose sight of the big picture.