Drilling Down

Dear Millicent,

The fall, with it’s famous bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, must sound the alarms of kick-in-the-pants nationwide. As you suggest National Novel Writing Month (I get head-achey at the acronym), I am also considering another internet regimen: Apartment Therapy’s Fall Cure.  The two are connected, and I’m very much considering joining you in the great novelwrite, and wonder if maybe we can create an overwhelming hybrid of sorts?

In your last post on Whip It, you asked about the ideal writing environment.  My honest answer is my sophmore dorm room, which was  the size of a cubby hole, and when I tipped my chair back, my head could rest on the opposite wall.  As I hopefully won’t be moving back into a u shaped space that held a twin bed, mini fridge and desk, I should probably re-adapt and get another program going.  As a mutual professor of ours recently mentioned, “space matters.”  I believe this to be true in the same way that teacups and good pens are pleasing; they can bring delight into the undercurrent, thus happily infecting everything.

Right now my desk and home resemble a comforting racoon’s den–comforting if you are that racoon (luckily, I am).  With a bit of distance, it looks piled and sticky. Functional, yes! Delight inducing, no. Apartment Therapy offers an 8 week focus to make things better.  The site insists it isn’t about style or spending as much as it is making sure one feels very good in their living space.  This week’s assignment is to get some sense of vision together.  They suggest pulling from environments you have admired (friends’ and neighbors’ houses, rooms you felt extremely good in), and to resist making a scrapbook from magazines and catalogues.  They want you to work for a feeling more than rigid ideal that might not fit.  I like this because money is not involved off the bat. Also, it doesn’t want you to be a style robot, as much as, dare I say it, your best self. Tim Gunn would approve.

I was talking to Mr. Carla Fran about these regimens, and my attraction to them.  He has very little interest, and I think might view all of this as another system of procrastination or exuberant timefill.  And it might be.  I do have about seven writing projects that need attention and wrangling. But, they are like the apartment: comfortable and piled.  I need some homework to get me through to the other side.  National Novel Writing Month and the Fall Cure seem like a good sidefocus to dig up all the scattered energy, and start the approach.

My one hesitation about Novel Month is admittedly weak.  I look at the site, and think that a real writer wouldn’t dare post their words there.  I hem and haw about pseudonyms, and then realize I am my own worst wallflower/firecracker: resistant because it seems earnest and uncool.  My punishment should be to include my middle name, and send my parents links to read every update.

What’s the great attraction to these regimens? Is it being told what to do? Is it that it gives a finite start, and a sense of community that promise there is an end and it all will be ok?  Is it a matter of focus and a steady hand?

I think I like it.  Of course, starting is always the easy part.

Back to the den,


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