I worked on my essay all day yesterday. I read the speech by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He talked about being holed up in a room to write, and I realized how much I like that work. I like it and I don’t like it, but I look forward to holing myself up in my space to write. I can stay there for hours. It’s like a puzzle to me, and afterwards I also realize I’ve been struggling with my brain. My mind. I have been working out the puzzle. I’ll throw out everything I wrote that didn’t come through practice. It’s not alive. But what it showed me was the way I needed to go. What I was working out was the theme and the main points of the essay.
I’m intrigued with this interplay of the writing, which flows out one paragraph after another, and the structure of the story. That doesn’t flow out. I didn’t make my outline like I said I would. I didn’t write on the topic I thought I was going to write on. I picked out a blog assignment that had energy for me. I guess since it was palpable I just started going with it instead of planning it out. I knew there was something I wanted to say with this piece, but I was not exactly sure what. I’m still not exactly sure what, although after yesterday I’m closer. I got stuck in one particular transition, and it was only in the bathtub this morning I realized what I wanted to write about in that particular paragraph. It’s like the transition, the turning point that allows me to go to the next section, came to me.
Is this how writing is? This is the first time, besides the blog assignments, that I am honoring practice by using it as the main approach to building a finished piece. I will labor over a particular paragraph that hasn’t been built with practice. I’ll rewrite the sentences, even knowing as I’m doing it that it’s not working. I’ll step back, read from the beginning. The first four or five paragraphs changed hardly one iota from the way they came out in practice. Then it gets stilted. I run into the paragraph I’ve been laboring over. I sit down, try to write what I want to say using practice, except I haven’t arrived at what I want to say. That’s where the structure comes in. I don’t know if this makes sense. I don’t know if this is what happens to others. I want to talk about it to someone, not analyze it, just understand it and then read their finished piece. It’s important to know what goes on in the room where you alone sit.
Today, work. I have an all-day meeting where people are flying in from other places. I’d like to bow out for the meeting. I won’t be able to focus on my writing. Maybe I can take my schedule book and sketch in it if I get bored. I know now what I want to write next, and it’s hard when you have that in you belly. Or maybe I have it on my mind and I need to transfer it to my belly where it can sit all day, patiently, letting it build. That’s what I’ll do. I’m not sure when I get to write next. I do know I have to write soon.