Friday, December 3, 2010

Writing Stops, but the Ideas Never Do

As I mentioned a few posts back, I'm not worrying about writing stuff for a while. My works-in-progress are on the shelf (or actually the desk, work table, or end table) until after the holidays. Oh, in the next couple of weeks if an unexpected free hour comes my way, I might work on something, but I'm not planning on it.

So the only writing I plan on doing before the end of the year is the two articles I have under contract for Buildipedia, and my share of the family collaborative Christmas letter that goes in our Christmas card every year. I'll keep up with this blog too, hopefully at a three posts per week pace.

How can I, you ask, call myself a writer if I don't write? How can I turn it off, leave pen on table, hands off keyboard, and do other things? Wouldn't I burst from the inward pressure to write? Or if I don't burst, can I really call myself a writer? Or think that I have a "call" to write.

We'll find out. It helps that the other things I must do are important, so that I know I'm pushing writing aside, not for the urgent, but for the important. I know, too, that this time of alternative busyness will pass. This is not a tunnel without light, but with a clearly defined end. And as I said above, this is not a writing "fast" such that I must not write, but rather a well set table in life that includes many other entrees right now. I can still sample the writing if I want to, as I did yesterday. I wrote a quick sonnet to post on the Suite101 writers forums, and I began a new article for Suite101, something that came up unexpectedly but which I think I can knock out with minimal effort. And, I'm still doing research reading for the next Bible study I will write.

So in general I'm not writing. But I find that I can shut down writing, but the ideas then seems to flow faster than ever. Until this week I had four ideas rolling around in my head about on-line writing things I could try, things significantly different than what I'm writing now, things I plan to mull over a long time before really trying. Wednesday as I was driving home from church, a fifth idea of a similar nature came to mind. I began mulling that, and recalled the other four for comparison. No, wait, I could only remember three of the four! What had happened to that other one? I wracked my brain, search for sheets of paper with apt scribbles, looked through other things I'd written for a clue. Nothing. The idea was gone. I had only four when I should have had five.

But wait, last night I went back to mulling again, and the missing idea was back. I have five ideas to mull, ideas about new ventures and a new way to publish on-line. The mulling will continue for some months before I go beyond mulling.

But other ideas have come to mind. Articles for Buildipedia, that the editor has expressed interest in but which I've asked to be delayed till the new year. Ideas for articles for Suite101, maybe twenty of them. Ideas for scenes and dialogue for In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. Ideas for putting my Bible studies into publishable form.

No, the ideas never stop. Which is one of the reasons I think of myself as a writer. I will never have a shortage of ideas in the few decades I have left to produce works of imagination, as Macaulay used to call them.

After this brief hiatus, I shall write on.

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