this November, I had the earnest stars in my eyes to work on a novel. And I did. I got up every morning and wrote for 20 minutes on a piece of fiction.
there are many reasons I wanted work on a piece of fiction. I think writing fiction helps hone story-telling skills. I like reading fiction and I use to write fiction. I don’t need to tell you but I will. it was hard. really hard. mostly, because I was not reading enough and mostly because it was hard.
you see, for the longest time, I had a story and characters that I wanted to bring to life. only on the page, they were flat and boring. so, all of a sudden a few new characters and scenarios started coming to life and I was surprised but awed at how hard it was to keep the momentum, even with a little flow.
then the election happened and I just wrote poems and other non-fiction pieces and realized a few things.
1) I like writing non-fiction things. Most of my writing is kinda of autobiographical/memoir prose and poetry and the jump into fiction is disorienting.
2) I like writing fiction but I am slow at it. It’s okay to be slow at things. Trying to cram a certain amount of words in a day, for the sake of doing so is just not for me. I know some famous folks have written x amount of words at x hour but that is not my style.
3) I like to have multiple projects going on. Not too many but more than one. Just working on piece of work is like torment for me. I like to blog, journal, Instagram and write fiction. I don’t do all these things on the same day or for any prescribed amount of time but I do enjoy the variety and it makes for slower progress on bigger works.
4) I like the characters I am creating and I like the story. Still, I need to read and write more (WIDELY) before I can even really feel inspired to call it a novel. so, maybe pre-rough draft or (ROUGH)rough draft would be a better way of thinking about things for me. Writing a rough drafts feels freer than writing a novel for me. I don’t even know if this will be a novel or something novel-like.
5) sometimes, you just can’t do everything. Some things take time. If, this whole artist-residency in motherhood is teaching me anything, it is that fast is not my friend. For me things work best when they are open-ended and with loose parameters. I have to work with a long view and not a short view for sanity’s sake.
so this is where I am with the novel-like piece of work. I am just working on it, like I just work on all my other projects, slowly. I do feel like I should be more focused but that perpetual laser focus stuff drains me. so I am here accepting this is how I work.
In all my time of reading books on writing, even my favorite ones, I think most of the writers have been singularly focused on one medium but I am not. I feel like a misfit but I am not. I work best when I am stimulated by my works but not overstimulated and not working too fast.
Recently, I read somewhere that artist, especially mother artists, should think about things in five or ten year increments. So my goal is to have a decent draft of this novel-like work ( or another work) in five years or so.
however, I also want to work on my visual art a lot during this time, too. I want to paint more canvases and get better camera equipment and go on photography adventures. I want marry the visual and the words better in a small-scale project. I want to write more long-form pieces or maybe just one. I want to do more interviews and oral histories.
Just art as way of life. Nothing major, right? of course, I am not holding myself to the letter on these. Who know what the world or life may hold but also, why not create art no mater what?
Do you have a five year plan or is it hard enough to keep a daily plan?