I had a fun and interesting talk with the women's book club of OutLoud Books in Nashville yesterday. They seemed intrigued by my routine of getting up at 2 or 3 am every morning to write. I verified that this is absolutely true, every morning, seven days a week. They seemed to think this indicates great dedication. Maybe, but for me, as I tried to explain, writing is a habit, an avocation, a necessity. My routine does not work for every writer, and your not getting up so early each and every day does not indicate you are less devoted to your craft. Ideas and inspiration, the enthusiasm and passion for writing don't always magically appear at the designated time. But being there, in the chair, every day, making it a habit so ingrained that I can't do without it, means that I am open to it, and that the sometimes hard slogging, the mundane and dreary tasks of writing, editing, etc, gets done while waiting. I quote author Cynn Chadwick, who quoted Flannery O'Connor: writing is a habit of being.
As we began our talk, I pointed out that yesterday was the 44th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, that day in 1965 when about five or six hundred peaceful marchers were beaten back at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, dozens sent to the hospital, and all of it shown on the national news. That is the day I chose for the ending scene in Miss McGhee.
I talked a little about the progress on What's Best for Jane. Set a decade ahead, the new novel opens in 1975, and moves from a great national force that swept the country to the affects on the individuals in the small town, from the political to the personal. I talked about that narrowing of focus and about writing from the point of view of a child, which I found very difficult.
A very interesting discussion.