But what am I writing?
At a reading I gave last week, an audience member asked me if I wrote every day. “Yes,” I said. “I write every single day, even on weekends.” The next day, I started to wonder if I’d given a totally honest answer. The part about writing every day was true, but I didn’t elaborate on what, exactly, I wrote.
I’m in awe of writers who produce enormous numbers of words – i.e., the magical one thousand words a day – which I’ve never been able to match. I think more in hours per day spent writing than in number of words written per day. My writing hours vary from 8 to 1, depending on the day. Sometimes all I can manage is a sentence in my journal.
I thought I would track my writing for the next few days. Here are the results.
Thursday: I worked on curriculum for the summer workshop, Digital Storytelling, then fiddled with a poem about a smashed car I saw on the road near my house. I finished a poem based on my horoscope and wrote a few lines in my journal.
Friday: I began the next review for Sticks & Stones, worked on curriculum, and engaged in more poem-fiddling. I started this blog post.
Saturday: I spent the afternoon poem-fiddling. I wondered if I should have removed the word “beautifully” from the poem I just submitted. I decided to change it if the poem is rejected.
Sunday: After walking the dog, I changed the title of a poem I’m working on from “Earthquake Country” to “Emerald City” and worked on it for an hour. I made notes for future blog posts: poets who are also farmers and poets who write in a foreign language. I attended a reading and made a little word pool: tenuous, star, watershed, expect, house, color, old, sweet, gridlock.
Monday: I had an early-morning appointment that went until noon. After lunch, I spent the rest of the day wrangling emails and uploading videos. I worked on blog posts and the review.
Tuesday: I worked on the summer workshop curriculum and started the next “Reading Life” article, which will be about the dangers of not reading and writing. I spent too much time updating spreadsheets. I finished this blog post and wrote a few lines in my journal.
What did I accomplish in the last six days? Finished: one poem and one blog post. In process: two poems, summer camp curriculum, future blog posts, and the next review for Sticks & Stones. This is not a very impressive list of accomplishments, but it is a realistic look at what I meant when I responded, “Yes, I write every day.”