I had forgotten what it feels like to sit down at the keyboard with a steaming mug of tea to my right and a purring feline curled up in the cat bed to my left, to watch as a world of my own devising opens up in front of me on the modest screen of my aging MacBook.
Though I spend hours and hours each day sitting in this same spot, it doesn’t feel anything like this. The vast majority of my time at the keyboard is spent stringing words together for other people. Day in and day out, I work diligently on brand messaging and website copy and ebooks and blog posts; but it’s not at all the same as sitting here with the prospect of creating something unique and wholly mine.
There is something rebellious about writing. As storytellers, we get to recreate the world as we like. We get to mete out justice as we see fit. We get to decide who wins and who loses, and why. Through our stories, we get to say exactly what we believe and feel about this crazy adventure of being human. And we get to dream about all the possibilities that exist outside the realm of our personal experience.
So, when I sit here preparing to work on one of my own stories, the contentment I feel at having carved out time for writing floats on the surface of a gently undulating ocean of brewing insurrection. Just below my conscious thoughts, shadows glide. I sense them more than I see them – the deeper elements of my story, the truths that drew me to sit here, with my tea and my cats, at the keyboard. They are a little scary because they will make demands of me that push me outside my comfort zone, but they are also exciting to me because I know that their presence is what drives me to write in the first place. I can’t quite make them out, but I know that they will eventually reveal themselves to me, and then it will be like the floodgates have opened and the story will come pouring out.
Books I’m Reading:
Sometimes, the best antidote to real-world craziness is to pick up a book about a world that’s even crazier than the one we’re living in. That’s why this week I reached for an old favorite that I haven’t read in a while. The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul by Douglas Adams is one of two books about Dirk Gently and his Holistic Detective Agency.
From the Amazon description:
When a passenger check-in desk at London’s Heathrow Airport disappears in a ball of orange flame, the explosion is deemed an act of God. But which god, wonders holistic detective Dirk Gently? What god would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch the 3:37 to Oslo? And what has this to do with Dirk’s latest–and late– client, found only this morning with his head revolving atop the hit record “Hot Potato”? Amid the hostile attentions of a stray eagle and the trauma of a very dirty refrigerator, super-sleuth Dirk Gently will once again solve the mysteries of the universe…
If you’re in need of something to take your mind of stressful news of, oh, I don’t know … the election, perhaps, this or any one of Adams’ other works might be just the thing to distract you while also giving you a sense that everything will be okay in the end, no matter how insane things get.
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My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:
- Why NaNoWriMo is noble nuttiness–and 8 steps to make it easier by @speechwriterguy
- A Key to Great Writing: Make Every Word Count by Stephan Wilburs
- On Being Profound by @DonMaass
- The Downside of Your Good Taste by @RuthanneReid
- From First Sentence To Book Deal by @VivWrites
- This Is How To Improve Your Writing: 7 Easy Expert Secrets by @bakadesuyo
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
- How to Get 10,000 Visits to Your Blog in One Day with No Platform by @JaneFriedman
- The Five-Step Brand Story Framework by @bernadettejiwa
- Stop Waiting to Feel Unafraid Before You Create Your Best Work by @jeffgoins
- Is Writing a Novel a “Someday” Dream for You? by @aliventures
- One Reason to Write a Book in a Month by @joebunting
- Turn Off the Static So You Can Hear the Tiny Whisper by @virginafranken
- 8 Best-Selling Books Written During NaNoWriMo That Show You It Can Be Done by Emma Oulton
- Hazard All You Have by @GuerillaMemoir
THE WRITING LIFE
- Why You Should Cultivate Daily Writing Habits by @monicamclark
- Have Trouble Getting That Book Done? Try Doing Less. by @gingermoran
- What’s Scary–For Writers by @elizabethscraig
- Writing About Family and Childhood by Kurt Rheinheimer
- On Writing: The Lonely Darkness vs. The Dark Alone by @brevitymag
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Finally, a quote for the week:
Here’s to finding your moments of contentment, leaning closer to the truths in your stories, and fighting crazy with crazy (especially in the month of November!).
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
This post originally appeared on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog.