I wrote this last week, and am sharing it today. Because that's how long it takes me to get around to uploading pictures. Actually, picture, singular. Don't hate. Today was a writing day.
Today was the most stereotypical writing day, ever.
It went something like this:
Grad student arrived on time to babysit Sam. I was still in my pajamas. I left an hour later.
I arrived at my super-secret writing location and got busy - eating breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, I've heard.
Next I opened my project to "edit." By this I mean I read through with an unimpressed look on my face and switched dashes for semi colons.
Then I texted my mom - while I checked Twitter. Because Facebook is a waste of time, but Twitter is networking, which has the word "work" in it, so it's allowed.
Then I updated my blog. Because when you are writing a book, suddenly blogging becomes very important. You will notice that there are five posts up from this week alone (now six). This is because I've been working so hard on my book.
By then it was lunch time, so I ate. Because it's good for my blood sugar and my brain power and the baby.
After lunch I realized I'd made no progress whatsoever on my book.
I questioned the entire project. I considered calling my agent and saying that I was obviously in no shape to write a book, and that even if I WAS in any shape to write a book, this is not the right book because, given four uninterrupted, child-free, well-fed and caffeinated hours, I still cannot string together a single relevant sentence.
I decided to take a walk before doing anything rash. After all, writing is a very sedentary activity and movement jostles the brain cells. I took a walk - to the kitchen - to get a cookie. (They were left-over and I couldn't have them going to waste.)
After my walk, I decided to close the computer; it was clearly getting me nowhere. I decided to brainstorm. Yes! Brainstorming is the answer! I grabbed my notebook and came up with this:
I woke up some unknown amount of time later and realized that, so far, I'd paid a grad student very well so that I could eat cookies and nap.
Utterly hopeless and dejected, I jotted an absent-minded note in the margin of my notebook. Then another right below it. Then the next thought, just so I wouldn't loose the train. Then down, down, down the margin of the page they came - then back up the other side - then back down the middle in furious, illegible shorthand.
And suddenly, miraculously, there is a skeleton. A fragile little skeleton of a chapter.
I celebrated by taking another walk down to the kitchen for some M&Ms.
I ended the day by typing my note-skeleton into the computer. Typing is the equivalent to Vitamin D (or that Sally Fields osteoporosis drug) for my chapter skeleton. It is much easier to pick up the work tomorrow when it is on the screen. Screen feels like progress, paper feels like emotion. Both are necessary, but you can't write today off of yesterday's emotion; you need to write off of yesterday's progress.
And so it is true, what everyone says about writing. The secret is to stay in the room. As Anne Lamott puts it, "keep your fabulous behind in the chair." Sometimes this process takes days, weeks, months - today was but a microcosm. And I'm grateful for that, because 2 pregnancies in 2 years have not been kind to this body of mine and I can't spare a month for napping and cookie-eating.
In fact, I should be doing push-ups now that the kids have gone to bed - because of the lunch and the cookies and the M&Ms, but instead I'm writing about my stereotypical writing day. Maybe I'll work out in the morning. But probably not, because I'll probably be up late sitting sedentarily in my chair writing about writing.
And that is why writers are fat.