Friday, January 13, 2017

A Sane Environment for Writing

My wife recently said that I am most prolific in my writing when my outside environment is orderly and predictable. "If there's nothing outside that is distracting or disrupting, then you feel completely free to put your attention inside and create."

I hadn't thought about my writing in exactly that way, but I think there's a lot of truth in her observation. When I was teaching full time, I knew exactly when I was going to write, to the minute--usually early in the morning at home and for a few minutes each day during my prep period at school. My goal each week was to write a thousand words from Monday through Friday, and a thousand words over the weekend--2,000 words a week. Ten months at school would lead to 80,000 words.

Also, when I was caregiving my first wife who had cancer, I wrote very little. I was very, very busy, and very, very focused. Now I have focus on my mom (92 years old), and a few other family items, not as intense as with my first wife, but I still see the truth of my wife's insight. I'm slowly moving in the direction of finding my stride, my rhythm of life and writing. I'm turning sixty-five next month, so I'm working through insurance issues, and I'm still enjoying the freedom to be more physical and to enjoy outdoor activities such as bicycle camping and gardening. (Not too much of either during the winter here in SE Iowa, although some bundled up biking!)

I revising a flash fiction story right now to submit to an online magazine. Short story writing is enjoyable right now because the commitment is more short term. Writing within my Dragons of Blood and Stone universe allows my creative juices to flow. I can look at the map and ask myself, "Now what would be going on in that area?" I find the map I've developed a great source of inspiration.

Some writers can write no matter what is occurring in their lives. I can do that, I have just chosen not to. I've always felt that writing is not my total life, that my life includes other avenues of expression. I'm looking forward to writing, just as I'm looking forward to many other pursuits.

Perhaps some time in the future, someone will say, "How much could he have written if he'd really pushed himself?" I understand that, but if someone who really knows me were to hear that comment, I think the reply would be, "Tom is interested in his total life, not just his life as a writer."

There's a certain romance to the troubled, starving, suffering artist persona. There's also a certain anguish, which I'd just as soon avoid. Every life needs a little tomfoolery!

1 comment:

  1. I'm personally glad you may be writing in the Dragons of Blood and Stone "world". I like it very much.