Writing Every Day . . . Or Not, As the Case May Be

“Remember, a writer writes, always.” Wise words spoken by Larry, Billy Crystal’s character in Throw Momma from the Train, the most realistic movie about writing ever. Well, maybe not the part about Hitchcockian swapping of murders. But the shot of Larry sitting at the typewriter (remember them?) trying to write but being distracted, cleaning his typewriter, playing with Scotch tape on his face . . . that was so true to life.

Several months ago I came up with a scheme for writing every day. It’s so hard to make the time, juggling day job and familial duties, and trying to focus on writing something on spec when you have no guarantee that you’ll be able to sell it, and there’s the fish tank needing cleaning and the lawn needing mowing and blah, blah, blah, you know how it goes.

So I decided I would write during my bus ride to work. A half an hour in the morning, possibly another half hour in the afternoon, though I usually read on the ride home. I bought some fabulous Moleskine notebooks and felt quite writerly as I scratched away every morning. It was productive, and I turned out stories and notes for novels. One story I wrote on the bus was sold to Space and Time and should be out later this year.

But there was a problem. I was, obviously, writing in long hand. So then I needed to find the time to key enter all those pages into the computer. Having been written on the bus, they’re sometimes hard to read, and I’m back to the same old problem of finding the time to get at the computer. Granted, I do revise as I go, but I also can’t help feeling like it would have been better if I had just found a half hour to write directly on the computer. Although the shortest story was typed in quickly and sold, I have a longer piece that I never finished writing and is now taking me forever to type up.

You’ll notice I said I never finished writing one of the pieces. After getting further and further behind on the key entry, and taking on a gig writing book reviews for Suspense Magazine, I decided to stop writing on the bus and get in the extra reading time. I’ve been working on getting the unfinished story entered, but it will be awhile before I get to the point where I get to start writing the closing scenes for the first time. After finishing this blog, I’m going to do some more typing on it. It’s a follow up to the story I had published in the anthology Space Grunts, and it contains what I think is the most heart-wrenching scene I’ve ever written. So I’ve got to get at it and get it out there.

Remember, a writer writes, always.

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