NOTE: I’m taking a stab at one of those writing-prompt things, in this case Reverb10, a project aimed at helping writers/bloggers reflect on 2010 and create a better future in 2011…. all through thinking and blogging. Anyway, the next few entries are likely to be inspired by the initiative.
As recently as a few years ago, writing is what I did. Well, writing and reporting. It was my job, for goodness’ sake. Every day, I wrote.
In the last few years, writing has been more of a hobby. One would think this would be very freeing. And it is, in some ways. Back in those days, I wrote so much — it was my job — that the fun was very nearly wrung out of the practice. As a hobby writer, I can write about food, about nature, about gardening, about whatever the heck I wanted to — hence Free Range. But, so often, other things come between me and the WordPress composition screen. Most of the time, it’s my current gig. It keeps me pretty darned busy. And then, there are those little people, who think nothing of grabbing my right hand away from the keyboard, or crawling up on my lap and staring into my face until I give them the attention they seek so needfully. Add in cooking dinner and taking out the trash, and it’s rare I find the time to write.
Another challenge with hobby writing is the lack of deadlines. I started writing professionally in news radio, when I would sometimes have fewer than 15 minutes to write up a story, print it out, and run it in to the anchor. It was a short story, but, what Mark Twain said is true, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Writing short is about mercilessly cutting out everything that doesn’t belong — about getting to the essence of the story. It’s a challenge, but, if I say so myself, I learned to kick ass at writing quickly and strongly. In the presence of a deadline, I can write like nobody’s business. When I’m free to write when I like? Not so much.
I’ve got a couple of things up my sleeve to make writing more urgent (this writing prompt experiment is one of them), but I don’t think there’s anything I can just take away, except the lack of a deadline. Oh, excuse me for now… dinner’s almost ready to come out of the oven, I need to take out the trash, and a little person is in need of a little attention.