Writing Has a Mind of Its Own

I have tried to set a writing schedule. It just isn’t happening. I can plan to write every day, and I will, but what I write surprises me much of the time.

Yesterday I stuck to my schedule of writing on the stories/chapters in my book about my experiences as a public school teacher. I even had a brainstorm for that book while I was driving and wrote it down when I got home. I worked on three different chapters in that book yesterday. I’d planned to write for an hour.

I ended up writing thirty to forty-five minutes. I write quickly. Maybe that’s the problem? Or is it the solution?

I heard or read somewhere that Hemingway wrote 250 words a day. When he got to 250, no matter if it was mid-sentence, he stopped for the day.

I can write 250 words in five minutes. I am no Hemingway and probably my words are not as good as his were, but that’s what editing is for. I cannot write slowly or I will lose my train of thought.

Yesterday in that thirty or forty-five minutes, I wrote over a thousand words. Perhaps I should plan word count, but how would that work if I were writing a poem? I write little stories in my poems. I’ve had several published. I enjoy writing them, but there’s no way I can or would want to write a thousand word poem. Evangeline. I wonder how many words were in that poem. Let me check. Well, I cannot find the answer, but it was long. I remember reading it in school. I doubt I’ll ever write a poem that long and if I did, would anyone read it?

Anyway, I digress, which is something I do frequently. That’s why I cannot write for an hour or four hours or a thousand words. I write until what I wanted to say that day is said. Sometimes I spend my writing time writing down ideas and making outlines. I doubt I will finish all my ideas before I die. There are so many. That’s another challenge. When I do sit down to write, which project should I work on? That problem seems to solve itself daily for my mind gets geared toward one idea or thought and my fingers are off and running with the words as I try to get them down before they leave me.

Sometimes I ask myself if to be organized as a writer would kill my muse? I am organized to a degree. I just can’t fit things into an exact box all the time.

Sometimes I play with words using words I already know. As a child I was required in school to memorize poems. I loved poetry and it was an assignment I enjoyed. Now I frequently hear those words when I’m quiet. Once in awhile I’ll change up the words and leave the rhyme and rhythm scheme and bastardize a loved poem. One day while walking my dog, I did that with Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Instead of “Whose woods these are” which begins his poem, I imagined my dog thinking “Whose poop this is, I think I know” as she sniffed something some one else failed to clean up. (I pick up her droppings, which annoys her, but pleases the neigbors . . . ) but she was sniffing one day and that poem was running through my mind at the same time and the two thoughts collided. Some said they didn’t like the poem that resulted in; others said they did.

So if it’s a poem, word count won’t work. I guess the thing to do is what I’ve done for years. Write until I have nothing else to say. Like now.

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