Home » Going Indie: One Woman's Journey to Publishing Her Book » #1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Seven

#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Seven

Photo credit: me

A quiet day today, even with all the mowers and weed whackers and power tools that try to drown out the birdsong. Mildly overcast much of the time. The slightest hint of a breeze. The tiniest bit cooler outside than in.

This morning, I awoke when one of the cats came up on the bed. In her senior years, she’s become much more vocal, especially when she thinks I should wake up and pay attention to her. But she doesn’t annoy me, because she’s my beloved girl and she can do as she likes, because that’s how things go with your beloved ones.

I found myself moving slowly and quietly this morning. It was my gift to myself after the past two weeks. Granted, there’s much to be done—housework, errands, phone calls. Working, if I can make myself. A dear and understanding friend is having a major birthday today, and I haven’t even begun to assemble her birthday box (although I know most of what I intend to include). But I already told her it would be late, and she gets it, and this is one of the reasons I call her dear and understanding.

As I eased through the process of making my tea and the cats’ breakfast, I pondered whether I would write this morning, as I have since beginning this challenge, or whether I’d run errands and vacuum and be productive that way instead. When I stepped out onto the porch for another day of perfect weather such as we’ve had nearly every day this week, I decided to write, because why not? So I toasted half an English muffin and spread it with peanut butter and raspberry jam, and I piled everything—muffin, tea, ice water, cellphone, regular phone (in case Mom calls), computer glasses, and the little bag of flash drives containing my books and my blog post—onto the little tray my mother gave me a few weeks ago. (“I’ve been trying to unload this thing for years,” she told me. “I asked everybody if they wanted it.” “You didn’t ask me,” I countered.)

I wrote slowly today. Normally, I can knock out my 1,000 words in an hour. Today, it took closer to two as my characters meandered through various scenes that may ultimately be reduced to a few lines, but which made me smile because it showed me more about how they are with each other.

A hint of cocoa is drifting on the breeze. I recall in my childhood how cocoa mulch was a thing, spread around bushes and smelling chocolaty when it got wet. In the next moment, the cocoa scent is gone, and the birdsong is drowned out by a fire truck’s sirens. I pause to lift up those in need of the sirens as well as those providing the care, that crises may be averted and all may be well, and that they too may eventually return to a slow and gentle day.

8 thoughts on “#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Seven

  1. “…if I can make myself.” That is a frequent thought of mine when I know there are things I need to do ~ or worse, must do. Sigh. In other thoughts, I love your placemat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A question on your writing practice…you say you can knock out 1,000 words in an hour, but how long do you spend afterwards honing, preening and primping your prose? And how do you know when you’ve honed, primped and preened enough?

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    • Tough questions, both of them. Realistically, there will be multiple drafts, so the passage will be edited many times. It may even be cut entirely if it turns out to be unnecessary, but I won’t know this until I’m stitching all the edited work together. Bottom line: it’ll take much longer to edit this material than it did to dump the 1,000 words on the page.

      As far as when I know I’m done, it’s one of two things. One is when I’m simply changing things back and forth (take the word out, put it back, take it out again, etc.). The other is when I honestly cannot think of anything else to do to a particular sentence—that’s when I’ll leave it. (Which doesn’t mean I may not chop it later if I decide it’s extraneous. Just because it’s as polished as I can figure out how to make it doesn’t mean the story actually needs it.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing insights into the life of a “real” writer. I’m not in that category, just a guy who used to write a lot of reports for work and now writes an occasional blog post to keep his retired brain sharp. For me the aim is always to finish a first draft quickly, to give myself something to kick against. But I lack your self-discipline regarding editing, and without deadlines (externally imposed at work, and now self-imposed on the blog) I’d never finish anything. And I’m never, ever totally satisfied with the final result.

        I wonder if word processing is a boon or a burden? On the one hand the ease with which one can make little changes is very welcome, but maybe it also encourages an ultimately hopeless search for perfection?

        Anyway, thank you again for taking the time and trouble to respond to my questions so thoughtfully. I wish you every success on your current project.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thank you for your good wishes, but I take issue with your characterization of yourself as not a “real” writer. Writers write. You write, and you do so much more regularly and vividly than many other writers. The question is how much (or whether) you edit or deal with deadlines–and incidentally, your self-imposed deadline is indeed a deadline.

        As to word processing being a boon or a burden: it’s a boon for me simply because I have longstanding issues with my right wrist (an old volleyball injury), and so there’s a limit to how long I can handwrite. Also, it does make editing a breeze, comparatively speaking. On the other hand, there’s something about the tactile experience of writing by hand that can jar me out of a slump when gazing at an unmoving cursor fails.

        When I was in college, I drafted my stories and essays on the electric Smith-Corona I’d received as a gift for my sixteenth birthday. I’d make some handwritten changes on the page and then type of up the final. Obviously, I have no idea now if my work could have benefited from additional drafts, but the need to retype each draft meant that time and energy were limited, so the next was always the final. Still, something to consider.

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      • Thank you for your kind words, and further insights into your craft. Your comment about the tactile nature of handwriting is interesting. I’d never thought of it in quite that way, but the mere fact that it is a somewhat slower process perhaps gives the brain more time to do its business behind the scenes than is possible when writing/editing is done via a keyboard?

        For me, reading is also a tactile process, so much better when done in the flesh rather than on a screen. Oh the joy of holding a book in one’s hands, the crackle of the spine when a new hardback is opened for the first time, the seductive smell of the paper. But all that, as they say, is another story!

        Liked by 1 person

      • One with which I agree! While ebooks are portable (says the one who once went on vacation with a suitcase full of books because she didn’t know what she’d feel like reading on the beach), I strongly prefer physical books. I read once that the physiological act of reading is different when looking at a page rather than a screen, which explains why I focus better on the pages on my desk. The computer is great for convenience, but the pages marked with ink are, to me, infinitely preferable for appreciating their content.

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