Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D: Dedication

Something is happening to me.  Something strange.

I woke up yesterday and began my novel, but that isn't the strange part.  I kept my Writer's Notebook with me everywhere I went yesterday, even when I had to run my son's homework folder to the elementary school at 11:30am, finding it forgotten amongst the Taco Bell wrappers from the prior night's dinner.

I took my notebook and my Nook outside yesterday afternoon, pulling a chair over to the round table which sits in the shade of the Man-AH-tee-oh, and I wrote.  I didn't necessarily write my novel, as in I didn't start with a jaw-dropping opening line and go from there, but I wrote.  I wrote about my characters.  I wrote about their problems.  I wrote the truth of what hides within their hearts.

I watched them move, and I wrote it down.

Instead of writing them into some preconceived action, I simply wrote down what they were doing.  They were doing it, not me.

As I was laying in bed in the darkness, I leaned over and placed my hand on my notebook, trying to remember where the blank spots were, and I jotted things down.  Three different times.  The first time, the pen fell off the nightstand and landed under the bed.  Adjusting the dog, I reached over, fingers stretched into the darkness beneath the bed, and I wrote.  It was as if I'd opened some tap in my mind.

When I leaned over and turned on the bedside lamp this morning, I grabbed my notebook and held it on my lap.  I picked up my pen, held it just above the notebook.  I sat in bed for a few minutes and collected my thoughts.

I don't do this.  Ever.

Ordinarily, I leave rubber on my way out to the porch to start a cigarette, then motor to the kitchen to reheat some coffee.  Then it's back to the porch to finish my cigarette, reminding the dogs to be quiet as the rest of the neighborhood is still asleep before opening the door to let them out.  I check and respond to email.  I check and respond to Facebook.  I scroll through the news feed, checking out what I missed during the night.

I didn't do that this morning.

Instead, I sat at the table and wrote.

This new-found dedication?  I don't expect it to last forever.  I'm not that naive.  The difference between this and Nano, however, is that I don't feel that I'm supposed to be writing.  I don't feel the burden of expectation.  I don't feel like I have to set the alarm clock to wake up and write.  I don't feel like I have to rush to get to know these characters, because in thirty-days' time I need to have their story relatively complete.  Sure, the whole "speed dating" thing might work for some, but I didn't get where I am by "speed dating."

I keep my Nook next to me.  It's almost as if John Dufresne and I are having a little motivational song and dance.

Dedication.  Just keep writing, no matter what.

How do you recover from pitfalls and remain dedicated?