The Progress Reports

“How’s the writing going?” I’m asked after a session.

“Did you have a good writing session?” another asks later.

“How’s the book coming along?” a companion queries me when I meet.

And I want to respond with a lot of information. I’ve written sixty thousand plus words. The book excites me. The ideas, characters and settings are all lively, energizing me when I sit down with it. That’s how it is on most days.

But some days, my writing sessions aren’t about the laptop’s clicking keys. Some days, I sit and talk to myself, or I’m walk and talk to myself. (Walking is a great way to write.) “Why did this happen? Because that happened. What did he do? What did she do? So what happens next with her?”

On those days, I’m likely to do a lot of spot editing and polishing, re-reading what was written about one of the story lines to find the path and generate enough light to look ahead to ‘what’s next’. Paradoxically, these are often the most exciting and enjoyable sessions because I’m solving a problem, and I also see clear progress of the novel being written. It’s all coming together. I’m assembling the puzzle, I’m learning the fuller story, and gaining greater understanding of my characters and the setting. I’m fortunate to write another 800-1,000 words on those days.

These sort of days prove, it’s not about the word count.

On all writing days (which is about three hundred sixty-one days of the year), though, I answer the questions with the same non-committal, almost laconic manner, “It’s going good.” I know they’re being polite and supportive. It’s like asking, “How is your day?” A full report isn’t expected, just a general summary, brief, if you please. We’re all just being polite. I hold back for the blog posts to wax more enthusiastically, but even there, I restrain myself. I’m just one of seven hundred gazillion writers posting and writing, gluing my sanity back together and casting the tea leaves, trying to make something out of the voices in my head who urge, “Write this down.”

But sometimes, when I’m writing, I can’t help myself, and I laugh out loud at what I thought or wrote. Nobody looks up, because, you know, I may look harmless, but I might be crazy. You can never tell.

They don’t know that I’m just a writer. I leave my badge at home.

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