During the Covid pandemic, we did a lot of waiting, and we still are! We’re waiting to learn if there will be new aggressive variants of the virus. We’re waiting to see if we can safely spend time with family and friends now and in the future without wearing masks. We’re waiting to see if 2023 will give us any relief from the multiple problems that face us a a country and as citizens of this planet. But I have to admit that, as a writer, the act of waiting is not unfamiliar to me. It’s an example of how central waiting is in 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, story, or essay. After so many years of being a practicing writer, I now know better than to wait for inspiration before sitting down again with my laptop and entering the creative process. But I still 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 must look up immediately or I’ll forget them.
Just being on the internet creates further problems. I have to wait until I can corral any wayward impulses to research this or that 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 many more poems, stories, essays, and novels wanting to be send out, I then have to wait till I hear back from publishers so I can transmit more material and wait some more. Clearly, waiting for the write moment is an integral part of the writing process. Will you join me?