Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back to Work

Finally, I dug out the novel-in-progress, and reconnected with it. Between vacation (I don't write well or much at all away from home.) and reconnecting with my life, I've put off digging in and getting back to work. How nice to find that I had, indeed, finished the chapter I was working on and had only to print it out and tuck it into the notebook. Now I'm on chapter eight, with ten already done. Filling in nine will not necessarily be easy, but at least I'll be bridging from one known value to another. I heard an interview with Philip Roth on the radio recently, and he works a full day 6-7 days a week. And he's happy if he gets one page a day, knowing that some days he'll throw out the whole page. I'd jump into the duck pond if I had to throw out a whole day's work. Who am I, though, to judge Roth?

I felt guilty about my hit-or-miss work on this novel. I like the characters, like the surprises they offer me, and generally think that it will be a good read. But I can hear my inner critic saying, you are supposed to work on it every day. Now get your pen and get going. Well, you know, I think that critic can jump in the pond, duck weed and pond scum and all that. Since Boot Camp in June, I've strung together 8-10 full chapters and worked out a tentative story line. That's about ninety days, and I'm at about 80 pages, so I'm not that far behind. I do plan to begin the work earlier in the morning because that is when I'm most energetic and focused. My daily journal may have to wait till the coffee break in the afternoon, but I'm more and more okay with keeping my own schedule, if I dare call it that. Letting my brain lie fallow for a couple of days or a couple of weeks lets things settle and repercolate. Plot problems that seemed impossible somehow work out. I am working, but at my own pace, not Roth's or any other famous writer. After all, it's my life and work. I'm responsible for doing it the best way I can.

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