This holiday season–as the world waits for Hanukah or Christmas or the new year or to see what new destructive act Trump will perpetrate on us–reminds me of how much waiting is a central part of the writing process.
From a writer’s perspective, waiting is the name of the game. I wake each morning and write down the residue from my nightly dream explorations, a way to prime the pump and limber up my fingers (and brain) for later compositions. While I’m typing the remnants of these visitations, I’m exercising, at least partially, my writer’s self just by taking the time to reflect on my inner world before being dragged into the day’s seductive external activities.
But I still haven’t put in my daily commitment to whatever will surface and want to become a poem or story. I now know better than to wait for inspiration before sitting down again with my laptop and entering the creative process. But I have to deal with the multiple distractions that keep me from doing so immediately. I have to check my email and answer any messages that seem pressing. Facebook also calls me to keep up with posts. So does Twitter. And I’ve recently started using Instagram, another distraction. And then there are the multiple questions that pop into my mind that I have look up immediately or I’ll forget them.
Waiting surfaces here, too. I have to wait until I can corral these wayward impulses and put reins on myself. Once I do, I must find ways to keep my writing self from taking side trips on the Internet to look up minutia or trot to the kitchen for something to munch on.
Assuming that I’ve managed to wedge in my daily writing practice (I aim for at least an hour a day but hope for more) and have accumulated poems, stories, essays, and novels to send out, I then have to wait till I hear back from publishers so I can send out more material and wait some more. Waiting for the write moment is part of the writing process. Join me!