Monday, May 18, 2009

Settling In

I couldn't settle in to sleep last night. Perhaps it was the two hour nap I took yesterday afternoon, but whatever the reason, my body was willing but my mind would not stop racing. And so I tossed and I turned, but I couldn't get it quite right.

It happens that way with my writing sometimes, too. Because I'm typically working on several projects simultaneously, (right now, that would be a magazine article, a non-fiction book on organization and an inspirational novel), I sometimes can't settle in and focus on one project. I procrastinate, trying to choose between what's most pressing and what's most exciting. The article that's due in two weeks? The latest chapter in my novel which is also an assignment for a writing class I am taking? The third chapter of the non-fiction book that will make my proposal complete?

When I finally settle on which project wins my attention (usually based more on mood than on logic), sometimes I can't settle in on the words. Rather than flowing onto the page, they come in fits, starts and short bursts. One minute, I'm typing away, trying to make my fingers keep pace with my thoughts. The next minute, I'm stopped short, stymied by a word choice or mystified by what should come next.

The trick, of course, is to persevere. Keep my head on the pillow, take a deep breath and try to tame my wild thoughts so I can find the sleep that is so elusive; or, keep my tush in my chair, take a deep breath and try to find the words that are so elusive. I may have to settle for what I can get - a position that's almost comfortable, a word that's almost right - and have faith that the "just right" counterpart will appear if I persevere. And relax.

And so, having completed that all-important third chapter and submitted it to my critique group, I'll move on to locating sources for the article and reading the most recent draft of Chapter 2 of my novel/Assignment 5 for my class. At the rate I'm going, I should sleep well tonight.

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