Back when I taught the dreaded Freshman Composition, I used to stress that writing is always a work in progress – or process, if you prefer – and that students needed to be patient with themselves and their work. Then I’d add the kicker. I’d bring in one of my own pieces and ask them how many drafts they thought it took from start to finish. Some would guess 2 drafts, others maybe 4 or 5.
And when I told them that the number of drafts it took me to get a finished, polished piece of writing was closer to 15, they would groan.
Then they’d begin to explain why they weren’t going to do 15 drafts on the same piece, why they couldn’t do 15 drafts on the same piece. They had jobs. Families.
Lives that needed living.
I understood that. Very few of my students were taking Freshman Comp by choice. They were taking the class because it was required. Not only did very few like to write, most of them hated to write, and most looked at the time spent writing as time taken away from living.
I get that.
Writing is hard work. Lonely. Isolating.
For the past week or so, my writing has been incredibly frustrating. It has felt like I had the dreaded ‘writer’s block,’ when, really, the problem is that the words aren’t flowing.
That’s okay. Sometimes they flow; other times they don’t. Goes with the territory.
At any rate, I set this site up in earnest back in September, and I have been using it to help me get through a very difficult time in my life: A divorce.
Now, however, it’s time to change direction. It’s not that I’m over the divorce, it’s not even that any of the legal stuff has been decided; it’s just that I need to move beyond it, and there is no better way for me to move beyond anything than by writing.
I will now focus this site – to steal from Annie Dillard – on ‘the writing life.’ I’ll deal with the ups and downs of the projects I’ve got going: Vera and Markham, The Big Book of Periods, the memoir, and the film projects.
And, hey, if you get the chance check out Care2, a website devoted to social responsibility.