Monday, July 6, 2009

DAY 1--Bring on the Rain!

July 6, 2009

It’s a cloudy morning and the showers have begun. What a perfect day to start my year of writing! (Okay, I’m not the sun worshipper of my youth, but still I have fewer possible distractions. The lawn will not be mowed. The dandelions can thrive another day. The deck shall go unswept. Why is it that these tasks only seem pressing when I’m writing?)

I’m easing into this process. Some would be inclined to dive right in, but I like to dip my toes in to send a message to the rest of the body. Cold, yes. But, ooh, you’ll get used to it! Let’s hope. Last year, my Summer of Writing was a great experiment. I blogged and logged my experiences to hold myself accountable and I managed to write for period of time each day. Thirty minutes was the minimum while three hours represented a flurry of activity.

As I am embarking on a one-year sabbatical from my day job as a school principal and bringing in no money as of the end of this month, this little hobby must transform into a serious trade. Thirty minutes of writing? Bah! That’s a day off. Three hours—gulp, here goes—must be the new minimum. I will have to build up to that in the next week. Five to eight hours will be the goal.

Whereas I’d casually begun my days last summer, I will need to maintain more of a schedule for my writing. No lingering about in the mornings, letting Mr. Sandman influence my foggy brain. I shall shower, dress and walk the dogs to begin the day, then grab a cup—er, pot—of coffee and settle down to create, tinker, edit or connect with a character. I may even outline! That’s a radical thought for someone who likes to see how things flow, but discipline and direction will strengthen my writing. I can remain flexible enough to change paths when the plot or the characters compel an adjustment in the journey, but my endings will be stronger, more fully realized if they are considered from the outset.

For now, I am already behind. I failed to clear my desk this weekend to begin with a clean working area. I could spend the next two hours pondering what to do with each slip of paper, but I am giving myself two minutes to apply that deck sweeping desire to my desk. True, I will have (yet another) pile on the floor, but I can deceive myself into thinking it is an essential piece of “furniture” as my dog Lincoln discovers it and uses it as a new pillow. He’ll be better rested and I’ll be ready to write!


  1. Hope the writing is going well! Found your site by googling "lawyer turned teacher," which led to your 2008 interview with Just One more Book where you're described as a teacher turned lawyer turned teacher (again) turned principal. Am excited for your sabbatical and hoping you're making progress on the book(s). As someone from the northwest orginally (Seattle) who could be described as an L.A.-laywer-wanting-to-turn-Seattle-teacher, your taking-the-bull-by-the-horns sabbatical is an inspiration. Thanks.

    Best of luck

  2. Appreciate the comment, Robert. I practiced law in L.A. for a couple of years. No regrets. Still, I'm enjoying my career changes!

    If you really want to teach, go for it. It will perplex all your lawyerly friends and throw your bank account out of whack, but you'll get more rewards working with students. We need more teachers who are passionate about supporting all learners.