Writering

The other day I invented a new word for what I was doing­—writering.

Of course it wasn’t really new. With the web, you can almost always find someone else who has already done something similar to whatever you’re doing.

But it was new to me. Coming up with it made me happy. So there! 

Writering refers to all the ancillary work that writers have to do that is NOT writing. That could include book research, updating one’s web site, querying agents or publishers, printing business cards, commenting on a friend’s work-in-progress, or even taking all those scrunched-up photocopy receipts out of one’s wallet and putting them in an “expenses” folder.

I just wrapped up a six-month stint back on the staff of Golden Gate Audubon, doing communications there again. (Which partly accounts for the lack of recent blog posts here.) During those six months, my novel was on hold, which was in fact a welcome and restorative break. I’d been querying literary agents without success—often getting form-letter rejections or no response whatsoever—for a book that has been under construction since mid-2014. Seven years! So it felt wonderful to be working with people who appreciated me, and equally wonderful to have finite projects like newsletters that could be started and finished in a single day.

But now it’s wonderful to get back to the book!

I’m doing some limited re-writing, but even more writering. I’m reviewing my spreadsheets of agents and small presses to figure out whom to query next. I’m researching those agents and presses, to make sure I understand what they’re looking for. I’m educating myself about alternatives such as hybrid publishing and self-publishing. I’m starting historical research for my next novel, which remains an alluring but skeletal concept.

“Did you have a good writing day?” Sam asked the other evening.

“I had a good writering day,” I said.

I like the word writering because it sounds like motoring, with its connotation of forward motion. Revving engines! Speed! Distance! Progress!  (Remember that Mini-Cooper ad campaign from a few years ago with the tag line, “Let’s motor?”)

In the driver’s seat

It’s easy to feel unproductive when I’m not actually adding new pages to a manuscript. There are few things as fulfilling as looking back at the end of a day and seeing that I’ve created two, five, or maybe even ten pages of story out of nothing. It didn’t exist, and now it exists! It’s even better when I re-read those pages and like them. I feel like I’ve earned my evening glass of wine….

A day of mucking around in spreadsheets and query letters doesn’t give that same sense of accomplishment. But hey… it’s not “mucking around,” it’s writering.

As the Mini-Cooper folks would say: Let’s writer!

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One Response to “Writering”

  1. J Richardson Says:

    Writering. I like that. I seem to spend an awful lot of time writering and not writing. So maybe that is Ok.And I am thinking and writering my next book project.jr The Rev. James Richardson Sacramento, California “Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul and embed this planet with its goodness…Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.” —  John Lewis (1940-2020), Across That Bridge 

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