Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lost in the WIP

For the first time in my writing life, I've been able to get lost in my work in progress. It drives home the fact that time is a gift, a gift that is finite and easily squandered. I know this is an enduring topic for me, but it's something I struggle with as I enter this new phase of my life.  Kids are grown and health of mind and body is a day-by-day proposition, a thing to be grateful for. I walked through the pioneer cemetery at St. Margarets a couple of days ago, and the average age of death back in the 1870's was late forties.  Ten years younger than I am now.

So how did I make the transition from my usual anxieties to getting lost in my work? How did this finally happen for me?

Well, I'm on Prince Edward Island and it's Semptember.  It's really quiet.  I'm at the cottage with my husband and he has his golf clubs and for rainy days, a volume of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch mysteries. If he were a large cat, he'd be purring with contentment.  I'm only cooking for two, and I'm only doing half the cooking, at that.

In addition:
No internet.
If I want internet, I have to drive eleven miles and park myself in the Souris PEI Visitor's Centre.  When I'm there, I do "internetty" stuff (like posting this blog post which I composed in Notepad back at the cottage.)  I check my Facebook account (yes, I know ... after all my whining about Facebook, I reopened my account. More on that in a later post.) And I google stuff that happened to come up in the course of working on my WIP.

No NetFlix.
This is self-explanatory.

Incredible views from every window.
You'd think this would be distracting, but it's like balm to the mind and soul.  Tortured syntax unravels, clunky phrasing smooths itself out, writer's block tumbles like a house of cards.  God's handiwork is such an incredible and powerful example of cohesiveness, unity and meaning.  Oh, and did I mention beauty? Creation is God's utterance.  His only begotten Son is Word; it hit me like a ton of bricks that writing is the act by which we take dictation, pulling all manner of logos from that which surrounds us, creating stories from the rush and tumble of words.  God utters.  We write.
The Writing Corner
Long walks.
As the adage goes, "move a muscle, change a thought." When the phlegm of inactivity begins to settle, this writer often finds it in her brain.  There is nothing in this world to soothe the lymphatic system, the circulatory system and the central nervous system like a good tramp along the beach or up and down the dirt roads and grass paths that are such a part of this shoreline.
Bob Freeman, golfer and reader of mysteries and historical fiction and walking companion..
View from Route 16

Left off of Route 16 down to the cottage.

And finally, the WIP becomes the focus AND the distraction.
I don't think I've ever been in a position to be distracted by my own work when I can actually drop everything to do something about it. So much of my life is about returning phone calls, meeting obligations, trying to solve problems that require things I do not have, like money or a plane ticket.  When I say "drop everything" here, I'm talking about putting down a dish in mid-rinse or abandoning a pillow in mid-plump.

I may not be able to bring the ocean and the lovely isolation home with me, but I am getting as much done as I can, hoping that with every keystroke, I am internalizing the memory, the feeling of getting lost in the WIP.


  1. What a wonderful gift ... and I hope that you will bring this sense of beauty and time when you return home to your daily obligations. Thank you for taking this time to share your vacation with us.

    1. Twenty minutes at the Visitor Center and I can check in for a wee bit with the writing world. Hope your September is off to a grand start, Vijaya, and I'll be checking in with your blog when I get home next weekend! Lovely that you stopped it!