Being, Doing, Do Be Do Be Do

For the past couple of months, I've had a lot of fun. I've spoken about the possible uses of journaling. I've gone to events, met people, learned things, talked with people. People meaning writers, readers, teachers, learners.

In other words, I've been being a writer quite a bit.

I have spent less time doing the writing. And when I don't write regularly, I feel more and more like a fraud when I say, "I'm a writer." And also too, I'm able to be a writer more easily and successfully when I am not feeling like a fraud.

So, in early November, I reversed that. I did my own form of NaNoWriMo. Because I'm not a joiner so much anymore, I didn't sign up anywhere. And because I'm trying not to follow rules that don't necessarily work for me,* I made up some of my own.

For the first twelve days of November, I wrote 2000 words a day on a nonfiction project I'm researching. When I couldn't (I was sick a few days in there), I made up for it as soon as possible. It was great to get some of my thoughts down, to reflect on what I was learning, to set new tasks, to consider one writer in light of another. And now it's all in the form of words, in documents.

When I am able to return to that project, I won't have to wonder where I was. I'll know. I'll write more before I begin cutting, and I'll do a whole whackload of revising. But I won't have to start from nowhere. I have words to serve as a starting point and to abandon if necessary (with appropriate gnashing of teeth).

So that was half a month. Since then, I've been revising a fiction project. It was harder to find a numerical goal for these days, since I'm not working through a draft. I'm taking apart some things and putting some of them together in new ways. I'm writing new things. I'm recasting some stuff. It's all very satisfying, even though I can't point to a number for the day and go "woo-hoo, done!"

But the main thing is this: both types of activities in my self-defined WriMo have been doing the writing. And it feels really really good--even when it's not going particularly "well," or I have to abandon an idea that really seems on paper as if it shoudl work, or I can't find the character's voice where I think it should be, or I recognize that I don't want to write something with a cute kid in it. All of which have happened.

I've been the writer on occasion lately, too. And yes, it's easier, after a day of doing the writing. And yes, I will remember this lesson--now that I've written it down.

* I am such a good rule-follower until I don't get the result I want and then comes the Wrath of Whatever from High atop the Thing. It's a resentful wrath, too, with a millennial memory.