Writer’s rush

Posted on March 12, 2011


You know that moment? When the writing flows with nail-biting narrative and you’re entire focus becomes sharpened, becomes fixated on the story that spills from your fingers. Know that moment? It’s the writer’s rush. Our adrenaline. My fix. Here’s what has currently got me hooked:

My not-a-secret resolution

Sometimes life starts moving at top speed and it’s really hard to settle down (i.e. settle down in front of the keyboard and actually get writing). What I need are goals.

The other day while magazine flipping, I came across a new year’s resolution article – three months late (whatever). The writer was advocating secret resolutions. Make a plan, stick to it, tell no one. And this way, if all things fail that personal shame can remain wholly and truly personal.

But sod that. Because if I set goals that are never shared, it’s really easy for me to forget the obligation. Really easy. On the other hand, if I tell my husband that the kitchen will be cleaned by tomorrow afternoon – and then I completely don’t clean that kitchen by tomorrow afternoon – well, he’ll issue a kind reminder. Which I need (not to say it’s not annoying, but I was the one who initially set the goal and he’s just helping with the resolution, though an even sweeter thing would be for him to clean the kitchen on my behalf, even though it’s my mess of cookie dough, flour, salt, pans, sugar and wax paper across the counter).

I would really, very much be happy if I finished writing this story before leaving for Hungary. What story? My generations story that has no particular title. It’s a work in progress and a wonderful idea that unravels and enriches with every generation covered . . . a bit like the Red Violin, but with the passing of a middle name rather than the passing of an instrument.  I had started writing this last year with the intention of finishing  by July– but suddenly I was diagnosed with cancer, and everything started to spin.

So I’m on the fourth generation, looking at Deluxe Carriage Claire Brown – aka Carrie, born on a moving train, and who never stopped chugging throughout her entire life. Then one day she fell in love, jumped from the carriage, and rolled into an entirely unwanted situation. Right now I have her standing on a snow covered sidewalk in Arnprior, eating a goose fat sandwich and watching the town wake up. What will she do next? I have no idea. That’s the way these things go – just write, write, write and hope the story unravels. I know how she’s feeling, I know what she wants, but cannot say at this moment what she’ll do.

That’s the fun bit of writing. Characters become people, and then who knows where the story will go?

The only way to learn more is to keep on typing . . .