A while ago, (no pun intended) there was a fellow who used to drop in on the writer’s workshop. He claimed that he wanted to write a memoir of sorts, something about his many decades of escapades that could be shared with his grandchildren. However despite the urging of the others, he never put much effort into the project. Whenever someone would share a piece they were working on, reading it aloud to the others, he always asked the same question.
“How long did it take you to write that?”
He offered no reactions, either good or bad to the particular effort. To him, it was all about time. I tried to explain more than once that the length of time is irrelevant to a writer, unless you’re on a deadline. The intent is to get the story down in the first draft, then go back and start the revisions and the editing process. But he always turned a deaf ear to me.
Once when I shared an excerpt from a work in progress, he blurted out his usual question before anyone else could speak. It was time to end his curiosity.
“Ten years,” I said.
“Ten years! That’s impossible?”
I went on to explain that’s how long I’ve been seriously writing. While I can’t speak for everyone, I will often be working on a scene or dialog when I’m driving, particularly on a long commute where there is little traffic. It could be hours or days before I’m able to sit down at the computer and actually write, but my brain is at work, shaping it, making it better. He didn’t like my answer and shortly after that, he stopped attending the group.
Maybe he just didn’t have the time for us.
Here’s a little excerpt from “Fleeing Beauty” the third book in the Jamie Richmond series. In this scene, Ian, the fifteen-year-old boy who is a friend of Malone’s, has been staying with Jamie, working on the project unpacking the artwork. He has recently met Brittany, a teenage girl from the neighborhood.
Ian returned after seven. He unpacked his clothes, grabbed an apple from the refrigerator, and scowled at me. He slumped into a chair at the kitchen table.
“Yes, Linda and Vince came home this afternoon.”
He gave me an exasperated look. “But Logan’s gone.”
“Of course he’s gone. He was only staying here because she didn’t have time to put him in a kennel before their vacation.”
Ian’s gaze went to the floor. He started bumping his foot against the table leg. I knew what was going on. He looked so sweet I couldn’t torment him for long.
“She’s waiting for you.”
His head snapped up. “What?”
“Brittany is waiting for you. She stopped by before you got back. I told her Logan was gone but that you were due anytime.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I just did.”
“But I thought, you know, without Logan, I didn’t have a reason to go by there.”
He was so cute. I reached across the table and punched him in the shoulder. “She likes you, Ian. The dog was just your wingman. Go see her.”
“She likes me?”
“Be home by ten.”
He bolted from the table. Halfway across the kitchen, he whirled around. “Can I stay until eleven?”
“We’ve got an early morning. Let’s make it ten.” I got up and went to the sink.
“C’mon, Jamie, how about just a little bit later?”
“Ten-thirty. That’s my final offer.”
Ian stepped over and gave me a hug. “Deal.”
With a bang he was out the side door and jogging down the driveway. I rinsed my glass from the iced tea and started to laugh. I had seen four different men that day and been hugged by each one. This was very unusual for me. But I was starting to like it.
Here's a link to an older blog that you might enjoy.