Friday, July 22, 2011

My Train of Thought has Jumped the Tracks

by Nicole Seitz

It's been a while since I've written. As life necessitates, I needed to finish teaching and move into a new house before I wrote again, but I'm happy to say, I'm beginning to see the light as things are winding down. We're in the new house and it's starting to feel livable. So the other day I was sitting in my home office. Just...sitting there. There are pictures propped up against the wall, cords going everywhere, and a new adorable writing desk I bought--just to get me in the mood of writing in a new house. Since my last book was turned in in February, I have edited a book, reworked it, but not yet written a new story. I have not really "created" story in about 5 months. That's a long time. It's not easy to be a writer who is not writing. It's frustrating. It feels as if you are a dangling balloon that some child let go. You are floating, floating...

Okay, I'm being dramatic, but I am a novelist. We're supposed to be. So after this move in June, with my office still a mess, I found myself sitting there behind the computer the other day, literally praying for the words. Usually this works. Usually I can pray for the words and boom, they rush out of my fingertips, but on this day, there was nothing but quiet. No clickety clack of the keyboard. Now, in my house in the summertime with two children and a husband, my name gets called about every 17.5 seconds. And this is not really an exaggeration. Sometimes I sit there and pretend not to hear. On this day, I could hear my husband calling AND hear his footsteps, which meant he was coming closer, closer. But I was having a thought. At least I think I was close to a thought. When he came to the door to tell me or ask me whatever it was he had on his mind, I looked at him intently, arms waving and said, "I'm thinking!"

I'm sorry, but seriously, how lame could that have sounded? I'm thinking? THIS is what's so important that you can't turn around and talk to your husband?

I reacted to my husband a bit like my chihuahua when
she left the yard one morning only to came back home with a
quesadilla in her mouth. No lie. She was quite protective of it,
as I'm sure you can understand.

Sadly, I never did begin writing a new novel that day. My train of thought was interrupted. In fact, I just remained frustrated that I wasn't writing. BUT I had begun thinking, and for you writer types who know about thinking, you know it's the most important part of writing. I LOVE the thinking part. I love trying to decide who did what and what happened way back when and what secrets everyone carries, and how this is all going to end up. The thinking part is part of the magic of writing and every bit as important as the clickety-clack part. So even though I snipped a little at my husband, and even though he must think I'm nuts or an egomaniac or both, I don't apologize for requesting a little time to just sit quietly and THINK. In fact, that thinking has led to more thinking, pondering, even. And along with the thinking and pondering comes praying for the words, praying for the story, and I'm pleased to say that although I'm not writing yet per se,  I am researching and pondering the story that has grabbed my soul as of late, and now I find myself thinking about it every moment I'm able to THINK. And this, folks, makes this writer very happy. Surely the written word is not too far off.

I'm writing this from my hotel room at a conference in NC called SheSpeaks. I'm here speaking because my latest novel, The Inheritance of Beauty, was a SheReads book club pick earlier this year. I'm thinking of grabbing someone's ear and suggesting a very quiet new tract for next year called SheTHINKS. Now there's an idea. Just peace and quiet. No one calling your name. Women having time to sit and think. Who knows what might come out of a conference like that?

This is an illustration of "The Thinking Tree" in Shellie
Rushing Tomlinson's wonderful yet unpubbed children's
book series about the foibles and wisdom of her inner
child. She's writing and I'm illustrating.
What a fun collaboration!

PS. Enjoy this illustration of "The Thinking Tree" I did for friend and collaborator, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson's unpubbed book. We're working on a children's book series based on the wisdom and foibles of her hilariously Southern inner child. Who couldn't use a good thinking tree?

Blessings on your writing and life!
Nicole Seitz is the author of five critically acclaimed novels and another on the way (BEYOND MOLASSES CREEK coming January 2012). She is married and the mother or two and lives in Charleston, SC area. She teaches art at a local school and writes whenever she has a spare moment. One of these days she will get her office in order, but in the meantime she's thinking about it, which is almost just as good. Visit her website at or find her on facebook and twitter.


Shellie Tomlinson said...

I do SO get this, my friend. One of my fav things about falling asleep at night is the uninterrupted THINKING time before I go slap dab unconcious. Love you sharing my girl and "our tree", mine and yours. Be blessed in your thinking!

Susan Cushman said...

oh this is sooooo good, Nicole. People who aren't creative types just don't understand that THINKING is a huge part of the creative process. I have a friend who is an artist, and she tells me she needs to think for hours before putting brush to canvas. Finding that uninterrupted time is crucial, isn't? We're putting our house on the market soon, so I'm right behind you with this process of change, and hopefully I will have a "room of my own" in our next house. Great post!

Augusta Scattergood said...

Even though I have more thinking TIME in my life these days, I don't take advantage of it. I love how this post reminds me that it's important, empowering, and really creative to sit and think. I especially love this line:

The thinking part is part of the magic of writing and every bit as important as the clickety-clack part. said...

My mother, in her nineties and living with me, tried so very hard not to interrupt me when I was writing. She was determined not to be a bother. Yet even if she was in another room, I could feel her hovering over me, holding her breath, waiting till I stopped typing before asking my help with some need. Sure enough, soon as my fingers stopped, she would make her request.
Thinking doesn't elicit the same respect as typing. Maybe if light bulbs really lit up over our heads, or our brains really buzzed, people would know we are working.

Nicole Seitz said...

I can picture your mother holding her breath in the other room and that is just precious. Thank you for sharing that with me. She was trying so very hard!

Renea Winchester said...

Just wanted to say that I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful group of authors !

Sharon Leaf said...

Words well spoken, Nicole ... I mean written. I love to think at night in bed while pretending to be asleep. My problem is that when morning comes, I've forgotten all of those wonderful creative thoughts. Bummer. It's nice to know that writers are all in the same boat now and then. ~ We're also thinking about making a big move to Lake Murray near Columbia. Susan and I could use a few helpful hints regarding the big 'writing while moving' process. Oceans of blessings!

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comic books said...

Great post Nicole,
I like this post too much,
Its too much informative.

Thanks to share this post.