Sunday, February 10, 2008
"On the road again, I can't wait to get on the road again..." Willie Nelson
ROBERTA: This seems to be the only blog topic I can come up with because I've been away from home since December 27! I had a million good intentions of developing the idea for my next book, and a million reasons why that didn't happen. The computer crash--anyone would be set back by that one, right? And the time spent visiting relatives on the way south and then on the way back, no reasonable human being can work under those conditions. But what about all the time in between? And come to think of it, the times I've been on other trips, I'm uniformly unproductive. I'm wondering then if it's reasonable to expect to be able to write outside my office. Maybe traveling is disruptive enough that I should simply mark those days off on my calendar. NWT: no words today. Or maybe my brain is saying "I'm tired" after eight books in seven years. I'm secretly hoping it's been working away behind the scenes so when I do finally get home, a story will start to pour out!
JAN: I'm all for giving yourself a break! I think the brain needs rest times, and I also think that travel is disruptive -- pleasantly so. In fact, that probably accounts for its popularity!
I am taking two weeks off before starting my next project, and I'm not going anywhere-- physically at least. I'm just mentally "on the road," and so far, it's a very nice trip.
HALLIE: EIGHT BOOKS! That's impressive, Roberta. Maybe you just needed a break. And besides, what did you expect, vacationing in Florida? Not exactly conducive to sweat and toil. I was there for three mojito-soaked days at conference last week and I came away with nothing to show for all that heavy lifting but a pink plastic flamingo.
Seriously, I can NOT write away from home. And I've become paranoid about my computer--last time I took it on a plane, the hard drive crashed a day later. (Same thing happened to my husband's laptop when he took a trip.) Even though I had everything backed up, it was weeks before I was out of Dell Hell and back in business. And without my computer, working isn't unlikely, it's iimpossibe.
What we all need for traveling/writing is a small, super rugged, laptop that does nothing but word process and email.
RO: I'm in awe of the eight books..
I can rewrite on the road..I quite enjoy that, but can't seem to generate new pages. But that doesn't stop me from schlepping all of my notes and folders with me, as if this time will be different..
HANK: One of the moments when I actually felt like a writer was two summers ago, in a B and B called The Rookwood Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts. My husband and I, along with another couple, were spending a few days there, going to Tanglewood and plays and museums and all the wonderful things around there. But my first book was due in two weeks. And I had to work.
So every morning, I took my laptop into the living room of the Inn, sat on a velvet couch, and laptop on lap, a put my feet (yes) on the coffee table . I had to finish the first big redraft of Prime Time. I missed out on a museum and a lunch at a great place. The next day, everyone but me went somewhere else fun. I kept working.
Secretly? I was thrilled. I felt tough and powerful and devoted. And I did finish. Away from my own dear desk. I had to. But wow, I'd certainly rather be right here, surrounded by my stuff.
And Roberta, I think though, there is something to be said for resting your tired brain. When your story's percolated inside your brain and ready, I bet you won't be able to keep away from a computer or pad of paper, no matter where you are. I have notes on symphony programs, napkins, my little red notebook, backs of envelopes, and yes, my reporter's notepad. When it's time, your story won't let you stand in the way.