With a Little Help From Nostalgia

Manuscript L with a kitty insideast night, right before bed, I found myself in that cozy, soft realm between sleep and awake. During that time for me, walls tend to come down. Thankfully the lights were still on and my hubby was next to me playing a mindless game on my iPod, so I found myself talking about what was on my heart: my writing.

It hasn’t been going to plan lately. Of course, man makes his plans in vain, but I’ve been trying to write, really I have. It always gets brushed off with the chores of the day. Plus, the revolving computer wallpaper of disapproving actors and writers telling me I should be writing is wearing off.

No, Loki. Shut up, Loki. OMG SHUT UP

I’m also feeling frustrated in that I don’t have a good hand on my story outlining or story bible, being spread over too many programs, but I’ll get to that later. My big concern was the writing. It just didn’t seem to be getting done and it hurt. We’ve been reading Brandon Sanderson’s “Warbreaker” book, and I’m enjoying it SO MUCH, but in my emo-ness I start to criticize my own work in its glow of awesome.

*shakes fist*

 Then my mind drifted back to happier times. Back when I was in middle school, writing came so naturally. I have such a clear image of that time. I would almost constantly write little snippets, or whole pages, of ideas and scenes on notebook paper or in journals. I’d steal time from my boring school life, dreaming of the exciting things in my head, expressing them with colorful gel pens. Writing was fun then, not a drudgery. I didn’t feel trapped by my story line, stuck in the middle of it without new ideas to propel me forward. It was a magical, memorable time, sort of the birth of my writing as a real focus. I still remember the sunny day I got the sudden burst of brilliant inspiration to write a story about a boy from a different world who learned he was heir to the throne of a magical land. That idea sparked more ideas which became my novel series as it stands today.

I was going on so heavily about how much I missed writing like that, and in his perfect, succinct way, my hubby spoke. “Oh yeah, I’ve gotten lots of good writing done on paper. You should try it out again.”

“Yeah…yeah I should!” I said. It was so obvious!

Now, I realize this isn’t a novel idea. Lots of writers still use paper and pen/pencil, but I had moved away from that, probably because it takes time to transcribe back in. But you can’t trade the tranquility of writing with your own hand, even if your hand gets tired fast. There’s something magical about it, which I’d only just rediscovered this November, writing some of my NaNoWriMo novel by Margaret Mitchell’s grave.

Proof!

So before I went to bed, I added two new items to my to-do list: write in a notebook with a colorful pen every day, and test out Scrivener using my NaNoWriMo novel from last year. I even tweeted about it to keep myself accountable.

So, today when I started writing, with a bright green tiny-nibbed Sharpie, I realized I missed my gel pens, which have probably all crusted into unusable sticks at my parent’s house. And as I wrote in a beautiful journal that had been a gift from someone who used to be dear to me, missing my gel pens, and listening to inspirational music from my younger days in college, I just felt a gut-wrenching longing for the halcyon days of the past. In part, I blame my Aunt Flow, who’s in town for the week, but that’s beside the point. But man, tons of past junk hit me again, some that wasn’t even writing related. I’ll have to deal with all that later, but I take all that emotion for a sign that I’m on the right track. Plus, I realized that my main character is the same age as I was when I started going through the stuff I’m remembering and feeling so emotional about. This writing in a notebook thing could prove very helpful, putting me in a frame of mind I haven’t visited in years.

As another author friend of mine, Wendi, wrote (and you’ll pardon that it’s a little out of context), “[I] realized there is nothing ever truly lost or forgotten. We might put things away for a time, but they wait patiently…to come back around.”

Come play with us, Christina…

That is what I feel today. My old writing habits were engulfed by my extensive use of the computer and just sat there waiting patiently for me until I remembered them and appreciated them. I’ve lovingly stored every notebook anyone has ever given me, always thinking I’d get back to them, but never sure when. But I’ve missed them, without really knowing how much until today.

And I’ve already written more than I have in days!

Now I have to go out and buy myself some gel pens…the Sharpie fumes are starting to get to me…

—–LATER THAT DAY—–

Gel pens acquired! Even met a little girl close to middle school age who was just hanging out playing with pens on the big tester pad. We talked about how much we loved gel pens :) It seemed oddly fitting.

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