If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Update: Writing

Last week I finally finished writing three chapters for an encyclopedia on motherhood. I thought it was a cool idea for an encyclopedia and naively agreed to write three of the chapters in areas that were somewhat related to my research. As I've mentioned before I am trying to stretch my writing voice and I've never written anything encyclopedic before. Somehow I imagined it being far easier than it turned out to be. The good news is that they are in and I definitely feel like I've learned and stretched from the experience. They are far from my best work but I'm sure when I get the reviews back I'll have plenty of opportunity to stretch some more.

This month I also had to do a final proof of a chapter I wrote about a year or so ago. Again this chapter was very different from what I am used to writing. It was part scholarly argument/part memoir and I was really unsure how to weave all of the pieces together that I felt was essential. The editor gave a very helpful review and I felt the second version was much improved. I was actually quite pleased to reread it now--several months later--and to find that I really enjoyed it. Its a good chapter--not perfect but good--and far different from anything I've written before.

After finishing these two tasks and preparing for my courses I took a little time to relax and found I had an idea for reshaping a novel I had started writing in 2005. (The idea actually came while on a long walk with Pupzilla--I love when things like that happen). I spent a little time re-reading the chapters and again was surprised that they were better than I remembered. The idea I had while walking wouldn't quite work--at least not without sacrificing something I didn't want to sacrifice--but a related idea would and I started reshaping. I'm not sure how much effort I can put towards it during the semester but since it doesn't have a deadline I figure it can just be something I reward myself with when I've done my other work.

Funny thing is that shortly after doing the reshaping I got an idea for another novel (while taking a shower--all my good ideas seem to come in the shower or on walks). I really liked the idea so I sketched it out (after the shower). Again who knows when or if I'll get to it, but it felt good writing it all down.


Nit said...

Wow! You are one busy woman! You inspire me....seriously. I can't wait to read your novel/encyclopedia - whichever is finished first :)

And thank you, thank you, thank you for the award. You made my year! I can't wait to post it on my blog.

Take care & keep on writing! :)

~profgrrrrl~ said...

That all sounds wonderful and affirming! Write on!

Oh -- and the shower is a great idea place for me, too. That and running my 3 mi local loop (when I can run, that is).

Julie said...

Awesome! I would love to read a novel you write. When you publish it, I will be the first one in line to buy it. I'm not kidding, either.

I know what you mean about the shower, though. I wonder why so many good ideas begin there? Is it our nakedness? Or the ritual act of cleaning that frees our minds to wander?

Great post. It sounds like your schedule is a full one!