Thursday, November 15, 2007

Any writing's good writing, right?

I have three best friends from high school--I may have mentioned them before in this blog, because they're the women I'm closest to in the world. Sadly, we all live in different cities, and only get to see each other one or two times a year. A few years ago, once we got too busy in our lives and careers to send around the "mass emails" we used to write every few days, the four of us started a rotating journal that we mail back and forth across the country. Like Fight Club, the journal has rules (except that we're allowed to talk about the journal, unlike FC). The journal can only be in the hands of one woman for three weeks. If we keep the journal longer than that, we have to buy a round of beers for the rest of the women.

Three weeks. Not hard. Anyone can write one journal entry in three weeks, especially if one styles herself a writer, right? Well, let's put it this way: at this point, two years into the journal, I am buying my friends a frat party's worth of beers.

I stepped outside myself and watched my behavior on this round, in the hopes of figuring out why I procrastinate on the journal. It's not for lack of interest--I LOVE reading the journal, I love writing in the journal, and I love popping it in the mail and picturing my friend Julie opening the package. Here's what I found out: Every time that I thought about writing in the journal, I would think, "Oh god, I haven't worked on my fiction. I should really do that before I write in the journal." But then I wouldn't actually work on my fiction, I would feel bad about not writing, and I wouldn't want to write in the journal because it would be an admission of defeat. And before I knew it, the three weeks were up and then I was depressed because that meant I hadn't done ANY writing of ANY kind for three whole weeks (or more).

So... yesterday, I got up early, trucked on down to Diesel Cafe and wrote in the journal. I wrote non-stop for an hour and a half and filled 9 pages. Gossipy, blathery stuff that no one but my friends would ever care about and I'll probably be embarrassed to read 6 months from now. And you know what? It felt great. It wasn't fiction, but maybe I'll try that tomorrow.

In dread,
Whitney Scharer


Sally said...

There's probably something juicy in that gossipy, blathering stuff that could be turned into great fiction! Like the title, any writing can be good writing. Glad you got around to writing that and this post.

Julia said...

Merry Christmas to ME!!!!!