I sit at my keyboard, ready to start on a new section of a novel. What am I doing? Who’s really going to read this? Man, the premise is whimsical, silly, dumb. I’m wasting my time. A story about monsters? I should be focussing on my blog or maybe . . .
And so the process goes until I am convinced that this work is a waste of time. I decide, instead, to pick up a book of short stories and immerse myself in Saul Bellow’s world. This process continues, not with one or two nights, but over a series of weeks.
I ask for some perspective, reaching out to a few folks I trust. They offer some great advice and help fuel my desire to keep plugging away. I write a few chapters, trying my best to find a voice that would suit an audience.
Then it hits me. I’m treating this as a project. I’m managing it like it’s a company. What began as a novel based upon a long, leisurely story I told Joel and Micah over a series of months morphs into a rigid, structured assignment.
So, I let go.
I’m writing a novel, not to be published or to be read by a large audience. I’m writing a book for Joel and Micah and for Brenna, when she gets older. I’m writing it with my own voice, in my own way, as whimsical as that might be. I’m writing it slowly and that’s okay.
Here’s what I’m realizing: Once I have the freedom to slow down, I write more. When I begin writing for a smaller audience, it appeals to a larger group. When I’m not trying to be creative or different, it becomes more creative.
In other words, I’m having fun. I’m writing because I love to write. I have no idea what will happen with this work. However, I’m not writing it for utilitarian reasons. I’m writing for fun.
- A post that has nothing and everything to do with teaching and learning.