“Writing gives me such a natural high––except when I’m trying to get started. I get antsy and cranky and find a zillion other things to do. Once the first draft is down on paper––what I call my creative vomit––I feel better. Then I start cleaning it up, and that’s my favorite part. I rewrite and refine until it shines. When I’m done, I feel on top of the world. Better than any drug.” I wrote this as part of a longer profile for Bylines, 2005 Writer’s Desk Calendar––a project by Linda Hagen Miller to celebrate the writing life. She is a talented writer I worked with when I was an editor at Northwest Travel magazine. I found the desk calendar yesterday and realized just how true it still is.
Here are a couple of examples from this week.
On Thursday, I was going to write the last two sections for my second book, a Travel Guide to the Major Bridges of the Oregon Coast, and I got bogged down in the fine-tuning of the parts I had already written. Since that’s what I really enjoy doing, I spent most of the day doing just that. Never got around to the creative vomit part.
That evening, I had scheduled time to write my blog, but what I had planned to write about didn’t materialize. I was going to write about my trip down the coast on Thursday delivering copies of Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges and distributing flyers to the upcoming Florence Festival of Books (FFOB), but nobody needed any copies of the book and the flyers weren’t ready on Wednesday as planned. Soooo . . .
I could’ve written about how I was bogged down all Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday with Florence Festival of Books business as co-chairman, but that might sound like whining. And then nobody wanted my book—more whining.
Friday I had to go to Eugene to take a couple of chairs over for repair work and––here’s the worth-mentioning part––to buy a new MacBook Pro. I am a Mac person; my desktop computer is my third. I’ve wanted a Mac laptop since forever. Back in 2003, I couldn’t afford one, so I bought a Gateway. It’s served well for a long time, but it’s time for a new one and even my computer repairman agrees.
I give PowerPoint presentations—probably 30-35 during the past year—and I have to have a laptop I can depend on. I have recounted the problems with my 2003 Gateway in my various presentations in my blog, but I never mentioned that every time I click my program, it takes at least three tries for it to actually pop up and that if I get set up and let it sit too long, it freezes and won’t let me click ahead to the next photo. I did write about the presentation in Port Orford last February when I got a dialog box in the middle of my presentation and had to have an unplanned intermission, so I could fix it. That was the last straw! With more presentations coming up, I couldn’t be happier now that I have my new MacBook Pro.
The week ended on a high note, but I still didn’t know what I was going to write about in my blog. So I did my zillion things yesterday. I cleaned the entire house, weeded outside, washed several loads, including some throw rugs that probably didn’t even need it. I even dusted every single item displayed among the books on three bookshelves in the living room.
Then I read a blog last night on Freshly Pressed by writer Peter Monaco about how writer’s groups keep you writing on a consistent basis and give you feedback and how important that is. I joined a writer’s group back in 1987 and helped keep it going for years. It was how I went from being a wannabe writer to a professional. So I heartily agree with him and support writers groups. At the moment, I don’t belong to one. But as I read that blog posting, I realized that my blog functions as my writing group now. Although, I started it to help market my book, it’s what keeps me writing on a consistent basis.
After finding that desk calendar yesterday and reading the blog last night, I finally knew what to write about. . . . And now that I’ve finished writing, I feel on top of the world!
TO BUY JUDY’S BOOK
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon.
The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area ended it’s two-week run June 1-14, 2012, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google Judy Fleagle YouTube.
September 17, 7 p.m., Bandon––I’ll be giving my PowerPoint presentation at the Bandon Public Library (1204 11th Street, 541-347-3221)
September 29, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Florence––2nd Annual Florence Festival of Books–an authors and publishers fair held at the Florence Events Center (715 Quince Street, 1 block east of Highway 101). I’ll be there with two books! (If all goes according to plan.)
October 13, 11 a.m. Oregon City––The historic Arch Bridge designed by McCullough reopens in Oregon City on the weekend of October 1314. I have been asked to be part of the festivities and will be giving my PowerPoint presentation at the Museum of the Oregon Territory on Saturday. The actual bridge reopening celebration will be on Sunday.
Is that what they call Writer’s Block? I’m no professional writer, but for the little things I do write, I discovered long ago to get the idea down and then go back and fix it. I’m a better editor than writer.
BTW, (by the way), one way to relax for just a few moments while at the computer is to go over and have a look at MY blog at chippep.blogspot.com.
Good for you for getting the Mac! Have fun!
I do read your blog and especially like the photos. And, yes, I shall enjoy my Mac!!