Slogging

I hit 60,000 words yesterday. I was on a high, not just because of the word count, but because I knew I had found my calling.

I’ve always thought that expression, “found your calling,” meant that you had found something you were naturally good at. But since making it a daily habit to give an hour to my novel, I’ve discovered it means something else entirely. It has nothing, it turns out, to do with being good at it, except that when you do something regularly, you become good at it.

It’s about how you feel when you’ve found it. A sense of rightness, of “of course”-ness. I was feeling this feeling strongly the night before last, lying in bed next to Carey, and I told him this, that I thought this was my calling, this novel writing.

He rolled his eyes at me. Smirked.

Hmpf. What did he think was so funny?

“It’s funny because everyone else in the world has known this all along, Heather.” Oh.

So I spent all day yesterday on this high, because everything in the world is right when you’ve found your calling. When you realize that everything, everything you’ve ever ever done has led to this. That everything you thought was weird about yourself isn’t weird:

Obsessively reading drafts over and over because you want to see how it reads from everyone else’s point of view, one person at a time.

Obsessively researching every little thing that crosses your path.

Obsessively reading and re-reading blogs and stories that tear your heart out, and letting the tears course down your cheeks, and beating yourself up for “torturing yourself.” When it turns out you weren’t needlessly torturing yourself at all: You were researching. Researching your heart and the hearts of others.

You listen to this:

And you nod along. YES, that is me. I’m not weird. I’m a WRITER.

You find out that everything you’ve ever done–raising chickens, running a business, being a mom–all of it matters to this thing you’ve been called to. It all contributes. It all makes sense.

And so, last night, I cheerfully set my alarm for 5:30 even though I don’t have to be anywhere until 10. And this morning I rose cheerfully from bed and came to this computer to write. Write! Write my novel! And I opened my tracking document (tip: If something matters to you, track it–this does something to your brain to make it take you seriously. Even the brain science I read matters to my calling!), recorded my starting time and word count. I opened my beloved document with my incredible story, and the characters I have grown to love so very much. And I scrolled to the bottom and I re-read the last paragraph to get my bearings, and then I

blanked. out.

Nothing.

Geez.

So I did what they say to do, and I wrote anyway. About 1300 words of boringness. All description. I managed to eke out a dialog between two main characters, but not much of one.

Sigh.

Calling, schmalling.

This is slogging.

Nice blank page, man.

12 thoughts on “Slogging

    • Oh, the reason I had insomnia is I should have probably been writing. Well, that’s not WHY. It was adrenaline. I genuinely like the thing I’m writing right now — the ending to the thing I’ve been writing for 6 months and it’s more awesome than I’d hoped — and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. However, I do have an 8-5 and was annoyed I couldn’t just SLEEP. Work on a schedule, life.

      • That’s awesome, Jaimie! I am ridiculously happy to hear that you are plugging along and enjoying your writing… and even happier to hear that maybe you will have a MaNuScRiPt soon?? (I never ever ever ever ever ever use that annoying and obnoxious thing where you alternate caps with lower case, ever, but somehow it just felt RIGHT there. The manuscript is such a … such a prize, and a fearful mountain, and everything that is good and bad in the world.) I would love to read pieces of your story… or all of it… when you’re ready. I can give you lots of “Go, Jaimie!” feedback and maybe even a helpful suggestion here or there.

          • Well, I still can’t wait to read it. Your scenes are golden shiny. I’m sure it will be a great read.

    • Haha. That’s okay. My manic adrenal-hype-down-crash-hope-joy-yippee cycle will trend upward sometime tomorrow or the next day, and then I’ll be over the moon again for a few hours or days.

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