The corkboard sits in front of me, the six index cards tacked to it looking pristine and organized. They’re labeled Act 1, Act 2, Act 3…and color coded. It feels very professional and like my writing life is pretty much perfect.
There’s a vague sort of plot written on the first row of cards: What’s the crime? Who’s the sleuth? Who are the suspects? What’s happening? The second row of cards focuses on the inner turmoil: What makes the main character feel incomplete? Why is she unsettled? What’s she resistant to?
My desk has approximately seventeen more index cards and pieces of scrap paper with random jottings on them. Setting: A multimillionaire built a castle way out in the country of Ohio. His family donated it to an NPO who wanted to have a camp for TCKs.
The notebook to my right has even more information and character sketches. What’s my main character’s Dark Story Moment? What Lie does she believe? What Wound did she suffer, and what Flaw came from that wound?
For all intents and purposes, I’m a pro at this writing thing. I have it under control. I’ve learned a lot over the years and should be producing a bestseller in no time at all. And yet, reality sets in and I have to laugh at myself.
See, when I was beginning this post I sat here staring at my corkboard for a good twenty seconds trying to remember what it was called. A chalkboard? No, no, that’s not it. It’s not a blackboard, or a whiteboard either. Nope, nope. It starts with a “c” for sure… Ah yes, a corkboard.
Next came when I was trying to describe the pieces of paper I have tacked to it. They’re kinda like three-by-five cards, but they’re bigger – like the next size up. But is there a name for that? Because no one goes around talking about a five-by-seven-card. Google comes to the rescue with the words index card and I sigh with relief.
A minute later I sit at my desk trying six different combos to spell the word turmoil. Does it start with a “to” or “tr” or “tu”…? My brain often confuses the order of letters so Siri jumps to my aid this time with the correct spelling, then Grammarly hops on the train by highlighting my grammatical errors.
My writing world is something I’m very happy for. I get to explore, learn, stretch, and reach. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s rewarding. Sometimes I literally roll my eyes and shake my head at myself.
Writing, like nearly any venture in life, isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels like I have far too much work to try and accomplish to keep going, and yet I know in reality that learning to be a writer is like basically any skill. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of do-overs.
See, failing isn’t a problem. Needing help isn’t out of the ordinary. Messing up and making mistakes and having to start over again are all important elements that make up so many aspects of life. Just because I can’t remember how to spell a simple word or have atrocious grammar or feel my mind slide into the absolute blank mode when it comes to putting together a plot doesn’t mean I should give up.
Today, I’m choosing to keep going one step at a time. Today, I’m choosing to celebrate the little victories and laugh at the mistakes. Today, I’m stealing the little moments to write. And guess what? Today I’m having a lot of fun.
Setting: My desk with snow splattered fields outside
Listening to: This is Home by Switchfoot
Random Fact: For years I asked if I could have gravel, sand, or brick as my bedroom floor. For some reason, my mother deemed it a bad idea (And we’re talking about when I was a teenager, not a kid. Apparently this isn’t what everyone dreams of?)
Question of the Day: Do you like corkboards or chalkboards better?