As most are aware, the past few months - or really the past few years - have been challenging to me as a provider and as a writer. I think somewhere - in the jumble of disappointments I seem determined to hold onto more tightly than the blessings and triumphs - there is a pattern of good lessons, though. The changes in our life have set me on a path of learning and one of the main things I am trying to learn is balance.
Being an overly dramatic person doesn't really help my case either. I have rolled from the depths of declaring I don't care about writing any more (in very crass terms to my long-suffering wife) to the heights of realizing the marriage of writing and regular work is a time-honored tradition among most of the best writers at the inception of their careers. The truth presiding over all of this is the fact that I know what I have to do to be obedient to God, so I can't really sit back and rest on my laurels.
Writing is a difficult exercise whether undertaken with copious amounts of spare time or with hardly any time at all. Successful writers often speak of the importance of treating the craft as a daily discipline. Either writing solid, book-worthy prose or just writing train-of-thought drivel, it doesn't really matter. In order to write well, it seems necessary to write very, very often.
This is a difficult proposition, but it strikes at the very heart of my dilemma. If I still have time to write, it is a very little amount of time. If I only have a little amount of time I want to be able to make efficient use of it. If I want to be able to make efficient use of the little time I have, I need to be a very good writer. In order to be a very good writer, I need to write as often as possible.
This line of thinking might seem intended toward self-defeat. It is not. What I am trying to drive at is that I have been so discouraged about how little time I have available for writing lately, I have all but given up on it altogether. The concept of producing another book under these constraints seems too difficult. The reasoning above, however, is to indicate I believe I could actually accomplish this goal with the proper amount of discipline. Were I to write with frequency, fully taking advantage of every kernel of opportunity I can spare, then perhaps I would hone the skill needed to produce a coherent, novel-length work under the limitations I now accept as the norm for my life. Honestly, this is the lesson I have been desiring to learn. How to write while working a full-time job without sacrificing my time with my wife or son.
I believe this is a lesson I can, and will learn. I also believe, as with everything else in my life, I will learn it very quickly.
This past Christmas I was fortunate to be able to acquire something I have wanted for a long time - namely a tablet computer. It has been an amazing addition to my life and it has absolutely allowed me to accomplish things I would not otherwise be able to accomplish. Today, I was finally able to purchase a companion accessory for the tablet (a keyboard dock) which essentially transforms it into a netbook. In celebration of these wonderful blessings (which I do not deserve, but desire to use to their fullest potential) I want to delve into a challenge I was issued a few months ago. I want to try to write a story every day.
I have trouble conceptualizing the mechanics of this effort and vacillate between actually writing a different story every day and just writing a different vignette which is part of the same story. Really, I don't think there is any reason to decide. As long as I am writing, the effort is worthwhile. I don't really have any rules either. I am not going to make a word threshold or anything like that. The main goal is to write something interesting every day, something that could be described as a story. I am even open to suggestions. I'd be more than happy to write about your idea instead of trying to generate one of my own.
I won't be doing it here, though. I'll be pursuing my daily writing effort over on my Functioning Chumesa weblog.