I like the discipline that these challenges have brought up. Sometimes, like today, I end up with a draft I don’t like, but them’s the breaks. Unlike 20 years ago, when I was doing my MFA, I don’t get tied up the same. I just move on to the next thing. Or try a rewrite. Some days I don’t get a lot of time to write, maybe 10 or 15 minutes. But having that on the schedule and doing it, at lunch or on the bus, after the kids are in bed, or in the other odd spots I have in the day is good. The writing stays active in the background, processing everything as I go along in my day.
The other major change is how I do my first drafts. I’ve really taken to going back to pen and paper for the rough drafts. In my MFA, I started doing everything on the computer. With these challenges and trying to capture my periodic glimpses of inspiration, I’ve started carrying around a small moleskin notebook and writing in that. So I’m back to old school writing my drafts on paper. Part of it is psychological. It’s a small page. Not as intimidating as the wide expanse of my screens. But I’ve found I missed the feel of the pen in my hand or the way a pen runs across the page. Think I’m going to keep doing this. In a recent clean up of my home work area, I’ve found a bunch of old, mostly empty notebooks, so I’m set for a while.