Patio Writing

2016-07-01 Patio Writing

On this rare occasion, I have a day clear of to-do lists and events, so I’m writing. It took a teensy bit of finagling, canceling one engagement for the day, but it’s worth it. Chad made me breakfast this morning, and then I promptly got to work writing.  How special is this day?

I gathered my materials up: laptop and power cord, extension cord slipped under a window screen, note cards for the book I’m writing, “whiteboard” notes for the book, my phone, a glass of water, paper, pen, and “Out of Sorts” by Sarah Bessey, in case I need a mental break and some inspiration.

I gathered up all these things and brought them out to our picnic table on the patio. It is 74 degrees outside, and clear, with a breeze. Birds are making myriad sounds around me, the breeze is rushing through the tree branches, someone down the street is mowing their lawn, an airplane cruises by, thousands of miles above my head. The sun is bright enough to warm me up, but hidden enough to keep away any glare (for now). Just perfect. I’ve prepped myself with writing options and comforts.

On a normal work day, I sit inside at a computer, alternating my gaze at two large monitors, tracking social media engagement, updating webpages, and running digital ad campaigns for a local nonprofit. It’s good work, but it’s not my end goal and so it’s often frustrating and tiring and, many days, monotonous. I know people who love that work, who get excited by Google analytics and click-through rates. But that’s not me. Many days I wish that was me so that I could be content with the work that pay the bills. And don’t get me wrong, there are many things good and very good about that job. I know I’m lucky to have it at all.

But today. This feels more like me. At least, it’s much closer to the work I want to do, the work that makes me excited. It’s still very hard work. I have notes and timelines and more notes and reflection questions and 25,000 disorganized words reminding me that writing is hard. This book is, by no means, going to write itself.

Writing is hard, but it’s healing and it’s important work, to me and I hope to readers, present and future. So I read and I write and I know this will probably never pay the bills, but that’s okay. If I can have days like this, with hours ahead and endless pages to scribble-type on, that’ll do just fine.

And I needed a day like today to remind me how exciting this work is, how much I enjoy sitting here with my words, arranging and rearranging them, trying to make enough sense of two years of pain and struggle to create a story that connects with readers.

At the writer’s conference I went to in early June, Author Philip Yancey spoke at two of the general sessions, and in talking about the writing process, he said, “At 2:30,  I found a really good adverb… And that was my day.”

That’s the kind of day I’m expecting. The slow process of choosing the right words– or stumbling upon them– the magic of a good phrase, the right metaphor. In organizing and reorganizing the words I already have written, I fully expect not to get much actual writing done today, but the editing and arranging and planning parts are coming together and that’s important. In the end, a really good adverb will make the day a success. I’ll definitely count that as a win.

After all, I have a full day of beautiful weather and empty pages to fill. This day started as a success, a refreshing respite from regular life. Any progress today is good progress.


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