Thanks to all of you who responded on Tuesday. It was a great reminder to me that I'm not alone, that although writing can be such a solitary experience, we do not write in a vaccuum. And that there are others who understand exactly where we are!
When I left blog-land on Tuesday, I got to do something really fun. At least, for me it was fun. I got to detail my car. It was a marvelously gloomy day, cool, but not raining. It was perfect weather for such an event.
A year ago, I actually detailed cars for a living. I was home between trips and knew I wouldn't go out seriously again until after the new year, so I took a part time job detailing cars at a local dealership. My friends owned the business, knew I was a hard worker, and decided to give me a chance. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Not even I knew how much I would love detailing. There was something so calming about it, from the method of cleaning to the organization and pattern of how to do a vehicle well. I loved the limited customer interaction (although the salesmen were often jerks), and the challenge of having a project in front of me that needed to be completed in under an hour. I'm not a car person. If you ask me about my favorite car, I'll tell you that it's a blue one. But detailing fit me in a way that I never expected. And ironically, I was good at it. By the end, I'd begun to master windows, which are often the most difficult part. It was such a fulfilling feeling to love what I did and to actually be good at it. Granted, it left me little time to write, it killed my back, and my hands became so calloused that they resembled my dad's, but I didn't care. To this day, I call it the best paying job I ever had.
As some of you might have experienced for yourselves, the car industry has struggled a lot. By December, no one was looking at cars. No one could afford to buy any. The layoff wasn't a surprise. But I felt such grief, not over the loss of the paycheck, but because I loved what I did. Even though I knew it was only a temporary job, I wanted more time.
So, that's why the opportunity to detail my car, which I hadn't done in almost a year, was such fun for me. But when it was over, I noticed something: my calves were sore. My arms hurt. A year ago, I did up to six cars a day. It definitely hurt my body, and I had to work up to that amount. I needed the heating pad just about every night. But with more practice, I got faster at what I did. I got smarter at what I did as well. By the end, I'd only get really tired--and really sore--by my final car.
Even though it's been a year, my instincts are still there. Automatically, I detailed certain areas of my car in specific ways, without thinking about the training and the reasoning as to how. It was as if time hadn't passed at all.
It was worth every second of it. I absolutely loved it.
What a great reminder. Sometimes writing is more painful than fun. Sometimes it feels like work instead of play. Sometimes, because of life circumstances, it's been a while and we feel out of practice. But our instincts are still there. Our training--whether from practice or a degree--will kick in as it always has, no matter how rusty we might feel.
And most of all, we still love it.
With that in mind, I sat down at my computer. Gloomy days are most definitely my favorite writing days. I started researching, trying to think through the themes before me. Finally, I started to write. I stared at the screen and tried to put down the image in my mind. Sometime later, after agonizing through a paragraph or two, I only had a 100 words to show for it. Unfortunately, they weren't any good.
But that's okay. Because I love what I do. It was fun to brainstorm and research. And those words will get me closer to the ones that will work, to the scene that will spark everything.
I guess if you can call writing something you know stinks a "success" and "fun", it's a good day, huh? Ha!
We'll have a book feature tomorrow, so I'll see you then!
18 hours ago