The sun shines in my window and my eyes pop open. A smile crosses my face. I get to write today. I pick up my glass of water on my nightstand and I walk across the hall to my office. I push the button on my computer to turn it on. I walk into my bathroom and brush my teeth and wash my face. By the time I’m finished, my computer is ready to go. I avoid the internet for fear I’ll be caught up in answering emails and leaving Facebook messages…because today is a writing day.
Word is the only program I open. I find my most recent manuscript and open the document. The first thing I do is check my word count and jot it down in my spreadsheet by the side of the current date. Then I read through my last chapter (more if it has been a while since I wrote) making minor changes as I read. Once I figure out where I’m going next, I put my fingers on the keyboard and my mind drifts away into another world.
If I’m having a day where I know where the story is going I’ll generally keep writing for three or four hours before I break. Sometimes I’ll take a break for breakfast or lunch. Sometimes I won’t eat until dinner. If I get stuck I may eat earlier and try again, or I may open the internet and answer emails and visit my friends on Facebook. If I’m really stuck I’ll get dressed, drive to the bay, and walk for an hour. It clears my head and then I return to the computer and start again. Sometimes it’s dark or even dark-thirty when I finally finish for the day.
But all through the day, I catch myself smiling…because today is a writing day.
What makes you smile?
To write is to be whatever you want. There’s a mouthful of Ws. That is my tagline on my bookmarks, my website, and my brochures. I get many comments on it from my readers. Most just smile and say, “I like that.” Occasionally, I get asked what it means. The short answer is, “whatever you want it to be.” But I’ll explain what it means to me.
Many people write in journals, or write poems, or just doodle words on scratch paper. Journal writing helps us relive the fun times and release the bad times. Each person who experienced that day with you would write a different story. Each brings their own past to help them interpret the day. And each of us writes into the telling what our mind will let us or what we want it to be at the moment. Some people write poems and they do the same thing. You may be writing about a tree, but it’s still about you, your feelings, your perspective. And doodling…how many young men and women have written their sweetheart’s name on their notebooks? How many young women have written, “Mrs. Blah Blah,” trying on a new name, so they can be who they want.
Me, I write novels because I can create whole characters and watch them grow. In my novel “The Advocate,” my main character, Sabre, is a juvenile court attorney, just like me. But it isn’t me. Yes, I certainly have projected many of my thoughts and behaviors onto Sabre. And, yes, sometimes what she says and does is what I would do, but it isn’t me. Sabre is younger, prettier, thinner, smarter, and richer than I am. Remember, “to write is to be whatever you want.”
If you don’t write, then read…it works there too. I remember being Nancy Drew when I was ten and Scarlett O’Hara when I was sixteen.” What have you written or read that has allowed you to be someone or somewhere else?