Uncategorized | January 28, 2004

After spending most of my short writing career on stories, I’ve recently begun a novel. Unlike the time I spend on stories, with long gaps of time between writing days, I feel like I have to write almost everyday simply to work the thing out. I can’t quite pick and choose the times I feel most ready to write as I have in the past; I have a fairly rigid schedule and Tuesdays and Thursdays off from teaching composition, so the time is there. I’ve discovered, though, that mornings I’m less ready to work, I’m moving more easily toward my distractions. These are a little embarrassing–online pool, almost every word on espn.com (I just can’t bring myself to read about extreme sports–I like my sports mild), celebrity news. I wouldn’t watch a movie starring Ashton Kutcher, but when I’m not ready to write, I’m interested in his romance with Demi Moore.

The embarrassment of these distractions helps motivate me; there’s only a certain amount of time I can spend on something so shameful before I’m afraid to look at myself in the mirror. Also, I’m very bad at online pool in the morning, so before long I’m back in a scene or sketching out plot lines. And ultimately these distractions force me to think about the novel in a new way sometimes. I keep adding then taking out a pool table from a basement, I start and quickly delete conversations about sports. Voyeurism and public and private lives do play into the themes I’m interested in, at least early in the work, so perhaps that justifies my keeping up with the exploits of the famous. Maybe not, but I’m still keeping with the work, even if somewhat sluggishly on certain mornings.