The state of the process

I think I’ve written about this here before, but in short — I don’t like to get too attached to rituals, instruments, etc when it comes to writing. My thought is that if I don’t have a favorite pen or special notebook or totally perfect seat at the coffee shop my office, that still won’t give me an excuse not to write.

This is not to say that rituals are always tools of procrastination. I’m sure that for some people, their favorite pens are probably sources of inspiration and hope. For me, though, magical items were always able to make me stop writing just a little bit sooner, if I got started at all. Unhappy with where I’m sitting? Can’t write! Let’s watch Cake Boss* instead! Can’t find my favorite pen? I bet if I take a nap, I will dream of it. So I made a conscious effort to keep myself from getting too hooked on rituals. I know Stephen King is a fan, but I am not. And that is what makes writing and thinking about process so interesting.

However, this week, I figured something out.

I have to write, every day, or the whole thing just goes off the rails. The whole book falls out of my head when I skip a day of writing. Main character who? I was doing really well with writing every day until last Sunday when I thought ‘oh, I’ll just take a day off.’ Yeah, make that five days, except for a bit of in-class writing I did on Tuesday. Which is still in my notebook and not on my computer. So I’m not counting it.

How irritated I am with myself! I thought I was all enlightened and ritual-free! Does this mean I have to smudge the corners of my office with sage or something?**

I’m planning on an internet-free weekend, which is something I do once in a while to hopefully mitigate the fact that I’ve been online almost every day for the last fifteen years. (I know. Shut up.) Hopefully I can get myself kick-started again. And if you catch me on twitter talking about a day off? Feel free to mock me.

*I had actually never seen that show, but last weekend my parents found themselves in Hoboken and brought P and me a cake. Even after five days in two separate refrigerators with a plane ride in between, that fucker was delicious.

**You can take the girl out of Albuquerque, but I don’t think you can take the Albuquerque out of the girl.

2 Responses to “The state of the process”

  1. Nancy J. Parra says on :

    I love Cake Boss. :)

    Writing every day is a habit, not a ritual and habits take six weeks to form-or so I’m told. I met Julie Garwood at a party one Saturday and she asked me- did you write today? It was 11 am at the time and I’d spent the morning getting ready to meet authors. sigh. She then went on to tell me that IHO you aren’t a writer unless you write every day.
    So-you go! Nice post.

  2. ali la loca says on :

    I also try to avoid getting attached to rituals when writing. It’s funny, though, after years and years of doing my best writing in journals (with a fabulous pen, of course), my writing only really seems to flow on the computer these days. Especially when I see the blank screen of Blogger in front of me – it’s like the floodgates open and words pour out. Of course, about topics that are unrelated to whatever required writing assignment I should be working on for school at the time.

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