There was a time when my first thoughts in the morning weren’t:
· Where am I on my script?
· Did I complete my research?
· Where is my story going now?
· What else must I consider in revising my script?
· Did I complete my critique for X?
· What’s running on the blog?
· Have I commented on the blog?
· Do I have next week’s blog written and submitted?
· Are there any interesting blogs on other sites from which I might learn?
· Have I replied to that email?
· Would that be a good venue for my short?
I’m not sure how and when all of this happened. My children were grown by then and not my immediate priority, which used to be the case. It’s not that I’m out of touch with reality, hardly, I find it bothersome at times, but I spend more of my time than ever in other worlds outside of the physical. To a certain extent, that has happened to everyone since we are using the Internet to socialize and to conduct business. But for writers, it is especially so. I find myself split among the virtual, fictional and real worlds.
The Fictional: The physical place doesn’t really matter. We live in our heads. I can plot anywhere as long as I’m alone. Even when I’m not alone, an idea will present itself that I jot down and develop at a different time. Creating the story necessitates immersing ourselves in fiction. We ask ourselves the “What if” question, and reality falls away.
The Real: Just like ironing or washing cars, writing is real work. After creating the story, we must call upon our judgment and skills to present the story as its best. That’s when the real work happens.
But—this week, I’m going on vacation to Hatteras Island, the setting for my novel (of course) as I do periodically all year. I won’t be on the Internet or communicate with other writers as much. Often, this results in my being more productive, but on this “girls’ week” trip, I doubt that will happen. I’m going to spend most of this week being in reality, which comprises about one third of my time. (Aside from sleeping—a necessity I find vexing.) Yes, I’ll read and maybe even write. But I’ll also talk with friends, drink happy hour, commune with nature, go swimming and shelling and appreciate the real world. How else can I write with authenticity? But is the real world actually my reality? Sometimes I think not. My writing is my reality.
What’s the real world for you?
BEACH WEEK—ROAD TRIP!