Two or three days a week (depending on the week) I get up at 6:30 AM to supervise the neighbor boy before school and then I take him there. From 6:45 to about 8:10 every morning I sit at the table and let the boy know what time it is. Time for your shower. Time for breakfast. Time to go. In between this time monitoring, he plays his DS and I write.
I didn’t plan on writing during these mornings. When I first started the gig, I wasn’t sure exactly how much wrangling would be required. Turns out that there’s usually not much and since it is so early in the morning, Twitter isn’t exactly jumping. Once I’ve caught up on my timeline, taken my turn for SongPop and Words With Friends, and read a few blog or new articles on my phone, I still have quite a bit of time to fill.
So I started bringing a notebook with me so I could “scribble”. I didn’t really have anything in mind to work on that first morning, so to pass the time I decided to write Lucy and Jamie’s backstory. You might remember them from a previous blog entry about characters that pop up without a story. I had a pretty good idea who these to characters were, so I wrote about Lucy meeting Jamie for the first time, which began with Lucy talking to Jamie’s adoptive mother Lindy. It was a fun little thing with no expectations.
And from that bit of scribbling came an actual idea for a story.
That’s what I’ve been working on two or three mornings a week for the past month or so. I managed to get a page or two written while sitting at the table keeping track of the time. It’s a different approach for me, at least in terms of what I’ve been used to doing for the past few years.
First of all, I’m writing long hand, which isn’t that unusual when I’m writing short stories, but I sense that this will be longer (I’m thinking novella range). I usually don’t write longer stories longhand because what I write down, I must type up.
Second of all, when I am working on a project, I adhere to the write every day rule. For me, I feel like it’s important for me to get that first draft out as fast as possible. This first draft is only getting written a couple of pages at a time no more than three days a week.
Lastly, with my longer works I’ve fallen into the need for an outline. I prefer to know where I’m going when I start putting the story on the page. With this project, I’m just going one page at a time and not thinking any farther ahead than necessary. I’m just seeing where this story goes.
I have to admit, this is a fresh approach is rather freeing. It’s not quite so serious business. I’m not putting excessive demands on myself. I’m just supposed to write every morning while I wait for the boy to get ready for school. It’s just a way to pass the time.
It’s going back to a time when writing was just a hobby and not a career-in-the-making.
Call it a change of pace.