The heat was oppressive. The humidity was high. The air was still. The sun beat down brutally. It was August in the south but it was more extreme than he remembered it being. There was rain this year. That was better than the drought that had stretch until well after Christmas last year.
He dashed into the bookstore and breathed the blessed cool of the air conditioning. He made a bee line for the cafe and ordered a large iced coffee, black. He carried the drink to a table at the back of the cafe area and claimed a table. He took his laptop out of his case and started to write. There was hustle and bustle around him but it was unexpectedly soothing.
He limbered up with an entry in his journal. He used the opportunity to sketch out his plans for the rest of the afternoon. He would get fifteen hundred words in on the story he was writing. He wasn’t sure how long it was going to be yet. He was letting the story dictate its own parameters. Then he had a piece that he needed to edit. It had been sitting there for a couple of weeks while he let his subconscious ponder on it.
Writing was like cooking. If you tried to write according to a formula that you read in some book, the words came out dry and without spice. You had to let yourself live with a piece after you wrote it. Your conscious mind would move on to other things but your subconscious would continue to process it. When you got back around to it and reread what you had written it was often apparent what you needed to do to it to fix it.
A friend stopped to say hi. I hadn’t seen her in a while. We talked for a minute. She asked what I was doing. I told her I was recreating myself as a writer. She laughed and said she had tried to write and had given up after a couple of months. I smiled and said I understood. But on the inside I judged her. You can’t expect to develop the skills of a writer in a couple of months. I bet she had spent more time staring at a blank page than she had writing.
I remember that phase. I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t know what to say. I discovered that it didn’t really matter what you said. You just had to sit down and say something. You had to plant your butt in a chair and write whatever comes to mind until it is second nature. When you no longer think about the process of transferring your ideas from your mind to the paper, then you are ready to start guiding your writing into specific places.
She said her goodbyes and moved back into the forest of shelves at the back of the store. I finished my journal entry and started my days work. I mentally adjusted my word count goal up to two thousand words.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.