Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Working on Something Big

A writing course I'm taking requires that I list twenty ideas for writing pieces. I started the list last night and ran aground, looking into space, thinking instead of writing. I felt all jammed up. I think of an idea for writing these blog posts every day of the week, but after struggling through eight ideas, I put it aside wondering why it felt so different.

These little essays are mostly me talking to myself. I wonder every day if what I’ve written is worthy of publishing. I keep going, hoping that it will make sense to me down the road.

A friend, hearing that I draft 2,500 words a day, asked if it I’m working on one big piece. He imagines a novel since he's a guy who cranks out ten thousand words on a topic without breaking a sweat. I haven’t had much luck writing a novel. I just have vague dreams about such a thing. My writing ideas feel much smaller.

He asks if I'm writing some large thing. Nearly all of my words for months have been "of a piece." They have been this conversation with myself. I discount the importance and viability of publishing this stuff, but post the things nonetheless. I figure Thoreau was mostly talking to himself too. I'm no Thoreau, but then again he was no me.

It comes to what I wrote yesterday: I'm trying to figure out how to live. I’ve long thought that I had to become that kind of writer rather than the kind I am. I love writing this ongoing conversation with myself. I’ve always loved this. I also love crafting poetry and stories, and it was a hoot to write a novel-length something last year, but my genre might just be whatever the hell this is that I'm writing now.

So I might have to get comfortable with and accept who I am.

That acceptance thing keeps coming up. It seems to be a key to a very important lock. Yet, soon as my friend asked if I was working on a long piece, I tensed and felt embarrassed by what I’ve been doing, anxious that I’m not working at what I’m supposed to be doing.

The writing course runs for the whole year and may or may not be what I need. It will be what I make of it. I should make it whatever I need. My best answer to my friend's question is that I don't know. Maybe I am working on something big. I haven't figure it out just yet. I haven’t figured out who I’m going to be. One way to find out is to write on.