Friday, March 12, 2010

Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed . . .

By Lonnie Cruse

I'm researching for a new book, non-fiction. Which means I've printed out a ton of stuff from the Internet, bought too many books on the subject for background and research, and now I don't know where to start reading first. And I want it to be my work, not theirs, so the reading is just to get that background. But it still has to be read. All of it. Whew.

For me, I can't see a whole lot of difference in writing fiction or non-fiction, except my non-fiction is a whole lot shorter than my fiction. But both are difficult for me, both make my stomach hurt, both make me want to tear what little hair I have out. Both make me wonder why I do this. Both make me wonder if I'll be able to connect the beginning and the ending and somehow fill up that enormous empty MIDDLE section. But I have stories to tell, things to say, and they won't stay inside. And holding the first printed copy in my hands is always the thrill of a lifetime, each and every time. It's that way for all authors.

Add to that the fact that I blog here weekly and write a newsletter for women once a week, and I have to come up with ideas for both. Sometimes the idea store where I shop is flat out of ideas. Yet it's funny, I open up a document and start thinking and writing, and the words start to come. They might not be the best ever written, but they come.

I'm also trying to get back into journaling again, on a bigger scale. I've researched that subject quite a lot and even taught workshops on it. Yet I struggle with it. Should I write my deepest thoughts? What if someone else reads them? Should I use a purse-sized journal so I can carry it with me and jot notes on the fly, or a large one that holds more words but can't be taken away from home? Right now I'm trying both, the little one for ideas I don't want to forget, great quotes, important lists, and favorite pictures tucked into the back, along with a sprig of my favorite herb, rosemary. The larger journal is for jotting down memories of places I've been, things I've done, but mostly for free writing (writing whatever comes to mind whether it matches my work-in-progress or not but it usually does, where was I?) which helps me finalize ideas for those works. I also press flowers and leaves in there. Multi-tasking by a writer.

Journaling has always been popular among famous people and the not-so-famous, like me. And it's interesting to go back and read what I wrote years ago. A recent read through one old journal left me a bit embarrassed by my thoughts about my time spent on writing back then, but also happy with my maturity since then. That's not to say I'm totally mature, mind you, because I do have a long way to go, but at least I've moved forward since then! Progress is good. Isn't it?

If you are wondering what the title to this post has to do with anything IN the post, I have no clue. It wrote itself and I liked it so I left it there. The mind boggles. Mine is boggled much of the time. Back to researching. And journaling. Sigh.


Julia Buckley said...

I like the title. And I admire the way you devote yourself to writing of all kinds--it can only lead to wisdom. ;0

Sheila Connolly said...

Aw, shucks, I love research. I used to be an academic, where you had to footnote everything, so I got used to it. And this was back in the pre-Internet days, so all my info was on pretty file cards.

Of course, in writing fiction I make my heroines ignorant about a lot of things, so no one expects them to know details. (And my editor keeps axing the fun stuff, like how to tell if an apple is ripe--five ways!)

You are certainly asking a lot from yourself!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Footnotes, Sheila? Eeeeek. I try to avoid them. They scare me.

Hi Julia!