I've written between 100 and 300 words on this novel that I've been working on for two and a half years, for the past two weeks. After too many months of writing much less than this, and I'm pretty sure that it's been much longer since I've been able to write this regularly (regardless of length) on a fiction project. This feels amazing, and for the first time in forever, I feel like a real writer. Which is kind of an amazing thing.
This Project; My Life
Even when I'm not writing fiction, I'm pretty prolific, so I suppose, I almost always feel like a writer. At the same time, writing endless emails and writing stories is very different. I think it takes a few months for life to settle down, for new routines to establish themselves, and the for habits to emerge that make it possible to write. This project has lingered along for way too long, and while I'm still interested in it, and interested in the ideas that it raises, I'm in a very different place in my life right now, and I would like to put this to bed so I can work on other things.
I want to write short stories, and work on pulling together application together for Clarion (or Viable Paradise?) for 2012 or so. And I have this story that I've been pondering for months about non-normative family geometries and adult relationship structures (in the way that Le Guin's Left Hand Darkness addressed similar issues regarding gender.)
I'm putting together the final scenes of Chapter 10. I think I have another week or two here. Then there's a lot of explosion and general climatic goings on in 11, and I've only planned 12 chapters. Actually in a moment of foresight, I planned out 11 chapters, skipping Chapter 9 and leaving the words "overflow here." And really, the prospect of being able to write the awesomeness that is Chapter 12 has been the main thing that's kept me going through all of this.
Art as Work; Art as Habit
There are two parts of this. First, I think art isn't the kind of thing where you take raw talent, and wait for divine inspiration, and find quality creative work. No. Doing art is about participating in conversations, about pushing yourself to create better work, learning skills, and figuring out a way to make a living doing your art (or something related) so that you're able to continue to be involved and productive. Art is hard work, and perhaps that's (part) of why it's so important. I'm okay with this.
I am also a very strong proponent of the idea that being successful as a creator/writer/artist--is less about having "great days" and more about getting a certain amount of writing done every day. The hardest part of writing is always in getting started. Once you have a little momentum, it's easy to write a modest amount every day, and that's the kind of writing that adds up and makes novels.
At least that's the plan.