I sat down at my kitchen table, just past 6:00 pm, my usual time. I poured a glass of wine and loaded up Ryan Adam’s ‘1989’ cover album onto Spotify and I pressed play.
This is how I write my book. It’s happening in very, very small increments, from day to day. My kitchen table, sometimes a glass of wine, always the Ryan Adams music.
But right now it’s a bit after 7:00 and I’ve written just a couple of really bad paragraphs, and mostly I’ve just stared out the window or I’ve gotten up a few times, and peeked at the bread that’s rising underneath a dish towel at the other end of the table.
Some days are just not good writing days, but this has been a particularly bad one, so I hopped over here, to the blog, instead.
Twice a year in the US we have daylight savings time: clocks one hour behind in the fall, one hour ahead in the spring. We sprung ahead last night, and while I don’t like losing an hour of my day, I love this time change. The days have already been stretching out, longer and longer, but now daylight will extend well into the evening and for me, this means a return to life.
I always hibernate a bit in the winter, and this winter was no exception. Despite the mild days and very little snow, I took advantage of the darkening late afternoons by coming home, hunkering in, and getting to work on my book. The progress has been slow but it’s also been steady, and right now, I have a pile of (virtual) pages, something that’s actually beginning to resemble a book. Well, probably I’m getting ahead of myself- mostly it’s just pages and some of it strings together but other parts just hang out alone, waiting for something to come along and connect them to the greater whole. I have a long way to go, but all of this winter writing has been getting me somewhere.
So I’m maybe all the more frustrated by the lack of focus tonight. I try really hard to guard my writing time, giving myself as many evenings as I can to sink into my routine and force out something onto the page. But in the past few weeks I’ve noticed a growing fear. It started sometime when the days began to lengthen and the sun began to shine a bit stronger, when the air felt warm on my skin. The fear whispered in my ear: “How are you going to stay inside and write when the world becomes beautiful again?”
The pattern of my life changes when winter starts to fold into spring- I go outside and stay outside, on long hikes and walks. I buy water ice and I spread out on a blanket in the grass. I plan things and see friends and show up more to the stuff that I tend to say ‘no’ to in the winter.
But what will this mean for my writing? What happens to the 6pm writing time, the mellow music and the glass of red wine, everything set up just so, so that I’m conditioned to sit down and work?
I’m not so worried yet, not really, but tonight hasn’t done me any favors. I know I’ll need to adjust my routines or find new ones, and I’m convinced that I will, because I’ve written too much of this book to stop now.
But in the meantime, I have to say, I’m so excited for warm weather and the slow approach to summer. My plans for July and August are all over the place- about every other day I come up with a new idea, and mostly, I want to do it all: another Camino. A writer’s retreat. A walk in France. A walk in England. A walk in Scotland. I fall further and further down the rabbit hole, collecting more information and ideas and items to add to my bucket list, and there are so many right now that I don’t know what to chose.
Not a bad problem to have. But before any of that, I have a mini-vacation coming up in a week, and I’ll be headed to Cumberland Island, a 17-mile stretch of land on the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the state of Georgia. Maybe this is why I’m worried about my writing- it’s my first trip in months, and will cause a serious disruption to my very rigid routine.
But I have to say, I’m so excited to be getting away. I’ll be camping on my own for the first time: three nights in my little tent, in a reserved campsite that’s a stone’s throw from running water and showers. So for now, a perfect scenario. It’s also a stone’s throw from quiet beaches and numerous hiking trails, and maybe most importantly, instead of black bears there are wild horses. (Lets hope the horses don’t come stomping into my campsite, but even if they do, I’ll be far less terrified of them than a visit from a bear).
I still have to practice setting up my tent, and I’ve got to gather up some food and see if I can work the little camp stove that I bought a few weeks ago. But all the planning aside, I can’t wait to explore a new place and to sleep outside and watch the sunset over the ocean. And I’m also excited to blog about the trip, so even if I don’t get much book writing done in the next few weeks, you can be sure to have some blog updates about this upcoming adventure.
One way or the other, I’m plugging along. Just continuing to plug along: my book, the blog, myself, my car (oh boy, my car!), my dreams. I hope you’re all plugging along as well, enjoying the extra daylight (if you’re in the same part of the world as me), and making exciting plans for the future. See you soon.