Thursday, October 23, 2003

DISAPPEARING ACTS: A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Diet Dr. Pepper, and Two Cats Beside Me in the Wilderness

I haven't been around much lately, and I may be around even less next week.

I'm going cat-sitting for a bit more than a week. In return for feeding, petting, and playing with a couple of utterly gorgeous felines, I get to stay at a friend's apartment while he's away. Just me, my laptop, and the voices in my head.

I am going to write.

NaNoWriMo starts at the end of my time alone, but I hope by then I'll be deeply immersed in the big nonfiction project that's been hanging fire the last year or so. I plan to do my 50,000 words of fiction, of course, but word count really isn't what matters this year.

What matters is finding my way into the new book. What matters is patiently working to achieve the focus and concentration that once were among my greatest gifts. What matters is making the writing the first priority.

Instead of starting the day with email and the endless round of resume submissions, I'll start the day with writing. Later on, in the afternoon hours that are least productive for me, I can read, nap, and deal with email and job submissions. In the evenings I will take walks around the apartment complex, maybe watch a movie, maybe write some more. Always I'll have lovely kitties to play with.

A few times during the week I'll emerge and see friends -- Sunday afternoon, for example, when I'll be in San Francisco for the NaNoWriMo kickoff party. And I may need to put myself together to see someone about a writing contract. Mostly, though, I'll luxuriate in solitude and beautiful words.

When I come home, I want to bring the new work habits with me. I won't be able to immerse myself so deeply; I'll have family responsibilities, and I'll have all the distractions and pleasures of home life. But I can and will make writing my first deed of the day. That is a promise.

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