Monday, June 19, 2006

Getting Started

At the BEA conference in Washington, DC, last month, I attended a workshop on historical fiction. One of the panelists there said that being an author means that you have to eventually put your butt in the chair and write. That's true for all kinds of writing, and that's what I've been having trouble doing of late. I can't say I have a writer's block, because I've not progressed past the idea stage. I have tons of ideas written on a variety of things and put in a variety of places (now I know what to do with those Roledex cards). But, it's the getting started part that's the biggest bugga boo. I have come up with a list of things to help get the ball rolling:

  1. Turn off the television. OK, that's not an original thought; someone on an e-mail list suggested it. I'm not sure that's doable for me. Even when I'm in my office writing--OK, doing almost everything but--the television's on in the living room, generally tuned to CNN. I have this fear--and that's not too strong a word--that some major news event will happen and I won't know about it.
  2. Write something every day. OK, that should be easier, but how do I choose which project to write on? For some reason, due dates just don't do it for me.
  3. Take Snood off the computer desktop. I wish I could recall who told me about Snood. She was not a nice person. Actually, I'm sure that's not true. I know she warned everyone that the stupid game was addictive. But really, I'm an adult. I can handle it. Yeh, right.
As if the distractions of everyday life aren't enough to put off writing, I'm having a bit of "after all, how important could anything I write be." I blame Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris for that. (You didn't think I'd take responsibility did you? The person who blames a computer game . . . ) They have a CD out, and one of the songs on it is called "If This Is Good-Bye." According to Knopfler, he wrote it because of the last calls made by people who died in 9/11. The words to the song can tear your heart out. There is absolutely nothing I--or anyone--could write that would have the meaning that those calls and notes had to the families and friends left behind. And, it probably shouldn't. Still, the thought is daunting.

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