Writing no matter what

I wish, no matter what, I could write for hours, no matter what, every day, no matter what. I know this to be near impossible for me.

For more years than I will think about I’ve hoped for that moment when I could get myself to sit down and write for hours at a time, every single day. I’ve read about writers who can tuck themselves away in their writing space, and pen away or tap keys for hours on a daily basis.  I keep wondering, what am I doing wrong? Or, am I a fraud as a writer? A fake of some kind? Something like that.

As true as it is that I’m not able to write for hours at a time with any kind of consistency, it’s equally true that I’d likely be a dead man if I did not write at all. It is near fact to say, I wouldn’t know how to function. It’s also stone-cold fact to say that in my darkest moments, writing and books have prevented my suicide.

I often write because I want to, I always write because I have too.

One writer’s internal dialogue

  • It’s time to do some writing.
  • Fuck me.
  • I’m serious.
  • I can tell.
  • You just –
  • One word down, then another –
  • And another, exactly.
  • You know what gets me?
  • What?
  • It sounds so easy. Just sit down, or stand, whatever works, and then just start writing anything. Just set words down and pay attention and the words will just come of their own accord.
  • That’s not so easy.
  • What – ?
  • “Words will just come of their own accord.” That’s an act of faith on your part. Faith that if you begin the words will follow. The weight’s on you to begin, then it’s pretty much stay the hell out of the way. It can’t be the same experience each time you write, is it?
  • Now that you mention it, no.

Early Morning

Without question early morning is my favorite time of day. Has been for years, certainly since I moved out of New York City in 1987 and took a job working on an upstate New York horse farm, a job that had me at the farm at five o’clock in the morning.

Now, there are those of us who are at ease with getting out of bed, blazing through their morning tasks and flying out the door in a dazzlingly brief period of time. Not me. I find the notion of having to leave home unsettling in the first place. Having to leave in a rush is unbearable. The farm was a 30-minute drive from where I lived so I’d get up at three a.m., plenty of time to have coffee, read, write, hang out with Bubba, the Siberian Husky who’d helped me reclaim my ability to leave the house after I was shot and held up again at gun point months later.

Ever since those first days out of the city early mornings have become a sanctuary of peace, healing, free thought, the intoxicating ineffable wonder of a new day emerging, adventure and, in a very real way for me, safety. Why the latter is true I’ve yet to discover, but it is.

Now early morning into mid-morning is dominated by writing. But there is a ritual. I set up the coffee machine the night before so, when I wake, I come into the nest (my writing room), click on a heater and turn on the PC. Then I go downstairs,push the button on the coffee machine and return to the nest. If my New York Rangers played the night before I check to see how they did. I then glance through email, do some chess problems, look at the homepages of NY Times and NPR, and during all this I may listen to Imus in the Morning. I then go downstairs, pour the first coffee of the day, return to the nest, have my morning coffee with Christine by phone or Skype or in person when she is here, and then hunker down to the day’s writing.

After my day’s writing is complete, I go downstairs, start up the fire in the wood stove and, once the fire is going, read.

Early morning, now and forever, my favorite time.