Tonight it’s all I can do to plop myself in front of my keyboard and computer screen to type out a Sunday Style. There’s something to be said for commitments, though, and I consider this one of my writing commitments. It’s like working out. If I skip one day it’s a lot easier to skip the next. If I skipped Sunday Style, I fear that I’d need to create a Monthly Musings or a Yearly Update for my writing. And, well, that just wouldn’t be good in terms of my progress as a writer.
So, in an effort to think of something to write about, I just opened Bird By Bird to see what I found. And, I fell upon Anne Lamott’s topic of Calling Around. Here’s a bit that I really like:
One thing I know for sure about raising children is that every single day a kid needs discipline — so it’s useful to give yourself a minimum quota of three hundred words a day. But also every single day a kid needs a break. So think of calling around as giving yourself a break.
Today I can really relate to kids needing discipline. And, to myself needing discipline…as well as a break.
But I digress. What is she talking about with this phrase, calling around? To paraphrase a great chapter, she’s talking about getting outside of yourself and connecting with people. She goes on to talk about how, while writing one of her novels, she was writing a passage where a boyfriend brings over a bottle of champagne and while describing his handsome fingers that were holding…the wire thing…she realized she couldn’t go on with the passage until she found out what the wire thing was called. So she began to connect and these connections led her finally to a phone call to a winery where she spoke to someone “in the know” who informed her that those wire things are in fact called wire hoods. Ah. What a relief and then there were three people, one of whom was her mother, who read the book that told her they were so happy to know the real name of that wire thing.
In some weird way, this little story makes me so happy. For one, I’m going to get 300 words in today as a result of this story. And for two, it reminds me that this writing business isn’t a solitary gig. There are other writers, there are people who help in our research, there are people to interview, there are the people we observe who later become some part of a fictional character. I was having a “lonely writer” moment until I opened that book and now I’m not.
She’s right…it’s good to call around. Even if the calling is just opening up another author’s book and sharing some of her wisdom with others, including yourself.