Room For My Book

I don’t know what happened to today. The hours simply evaporated. Now should be the time for relaxing, but I need to do all the things I should have done earlier. (Such as writing this blog.) I did go out sauntering with my backpack, so that’s something, but I got back almost eight hours ago and did . . . well, obviously, not much of anything.

I did finish reading the last of what I had already written of my manuscript, but I am still having a hard time putting myself in the proper frame of mind for writing. I simply cannot hold the whole book in my head as I did when I first started writing. I was younger then, of course, and at the time, didn’t have much in my head. It’s not that I didn’t have things to think about; it’s that I couldn’t think about all the things that were going on in my life, such as Jeff being very sick, our business fading, our savings about gone. So I wrote. (Silly me, I had the idea that writing would solve our financial problems.)

Now, I have to keep a closet in my mind filled with the new dance I’m learning for a performance this June — if I don’t keep it available, the steps will slide right out of my head, and that won’t do at all. There’s a shelf somewhere in the back of my mind for my Pacific Crest Trail research, and that shelf looks like a hoarder’s shelf, with stuff falling all over the place. And then there’s a whole room set aside for things to do before my May trip to make the journey safer and more enjoyable. I’ve closed the door, but I still know the room is filled with items screaming for attention.

I’m sure there are several more shelves, closets, and storerooms in my mind containing stuff I can’t yet clear out, but at the moment, the lights are off in those places, and I can’t recall what I should be remembering.

Is it any wonder there’s no room for my book?

I might have to go back to the way I started writing — by hand. It’s a lot slower than typing, but it allows me the time to arrange at least part of the book in my head so I can move forward with the story.

Still, this time spent rereading what I’d written has helped me understand why I left the work idle for so long — every one of my other novels has an element of mystery. With a mystery, you know how the story is doing and where it is going. When the mystery is solved, the story ends. Without a mystery, I’m not sure what I am doing, not sure where I am going, and don’t know how to end it. (Well, that last one is a lie. I know the ending.)

For as old a manuscript as it is, the writing isn’t as jejune as I expected it to be. I did find a lot more “was”s than I use now, and too many scenes started with “he did this” or “he did that” rather than something more compelling, but over all, I’m pleased with the book and excited about working on the story again.

I hope I can keep the excitement when I actually start writing.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.