Things I Do Instead Of Writing

I’m enrolled in a 12-week writing course this summer aimed at helping writers complete book-length projects.

The course overview said students should come to the class with at least east 25 pages of a first draft. When I found the course more than a month ago, my plan was to dig back into a story I started on Whidbey Island in February of 2013. I didn’t have 25 pages, but was more than halfway there.

My first big assignment is due tomorrow, 10,000 words of my work in progress. One day out, and – after doing more cutting than writing to the original draft – I’m still just over halfway there.

I had planned to start writing no later than noon. It’s now 12:53. Here’s what I have accomplished so far:

  • Read 20 pages of Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World, a book so good I’m still thinking about it now.
  • Went through my stash of blank greeting cards and picked out three I want to send to friends.
  • Found seven old photos that happened to be in the same box where I keep blank greeting cards, including the one pictured above of me and my grandfather.
  • Scanned the seven photos and posted them on Facebook.
  • Shared an interview I wrote for work this past week on Linkedin and Twitter.
  • Emptied the dishwasher and made the bed.
  • Started this blog post.

My goal now is to hunker down and push out my remaining words for this first assignment. No reading back over every paragraph as I type it, continuously editing words as I write them (a habit I constantly battle when starting a project). No going online to make sure each cultural reference is accurate. (What year did Grease come out? Was I five or six? Did John Prine sing that song or Dan Fogelberg?)

No switching between my word doc and social media to see if anyone else has liked my photos.

I’m sitting on the covered area of our back deck. It’s hot out, and I can barely hear my Edward Sharpe playlist over the lawn mower my husband is driving back and forth across our backyard.

My son is sitting beside me, eating a lunch his sister fixed him. A handful of popcorn, grapes, a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich cut in a triangle without any crusts and one small Hostess chocolate donut.

It really is a perfect day to eventually write, it’s just a matter of getting started.

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