Monday, September 19, 2011

Writing - again

By Shane Cashion

It’s been a few years since I’ve done any “serious” writing. By that I mean something more than randomly jotting down an idea or messing around with a paragraph or two only to later lose it to an infected laptop or the clutter on my desk or in my life. Last year I tried to get it going again by setting a schedule that I promised myself to strictly adhere to. I set my alarm for seven each morning with the intent of devoting my first hour of the day to writing. It didn’t work. I can’t predict when the muses will inspire me, which is just a fancy way of saying: I can’t make myself feel like writing. For me writing is like going to the gym; sometimes you’re in the mood for it, sometimes you’re not.

Well now I’m in the mood for it, and have been for a fair clip. I’m working on my second book, loosely entitled Beneficiaries, in earnest. I want this to be my White Album, the capstone of my writing life. That isn’t to say that I don’t feel like I accomplished what I set out to do with my first book. It’s just that my intentions were modest: to write a humorous, light read that would appeal to my sophomoric friends. For this book, I want to feel like I never have to write another one.

What’s strange, I suspect, is that unlike most writers, I don’t really enjoy the process of writing. When a sentence or idea comes together, it’s deeply satisfying, but not always enough to overcome the constant feeling of being distracted. I’m not a person who can compartmentalize writing and simply put my thoughts away for another time. Instead, I become totally preoccupied with it. I ask for deposit slips at the bank so I can jot down sentences. I litter my car with Starbucks’ napkins full of messy little, red, blue, and black notes that I can’t decipher later. What’s more, I’m often frustrated by the shortcomings of my memory, which, coupled with the fact that writing doesn’t come easy to me, makes the entire process a chore.

Yet, I soldier on, leaving my comfortable habitat, compelled to move forward with the task, like the march of the penguins. I guess that’s why for people like me “The End” feels so rewarding.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Shane, all writers go through what you described. Although I've written and published 14 books and put the finishing touches on another one today, each book project is like what I imagine a contracter goes through when building a house. Once the foundation is laid, there are all kinds of minor porblems to solve. The ending of my just-finished novel was like pulling teeth but I worked through it. You just have to sit at your computer and gnash your teeth and write something that you can always go back and edit later. Keep writing and fix the problems in your second draft.

Jaden Terrell said...

Hi, Shane. I'm glad you're writing again.

Good advice, Jean. I think we all grapple with the muse at times. Sometimes I just have to tell mine, "Well, go ahead and leave, then. When you get back, I'll be here, writing."

I don't always follow through, but I'm so much better off when I do!

Shane Cashion said...

Very sound advice Jean and Jaden!