First of all, if you want the perfect distraction from writing, I highly recommend you decide to start looking for a house.  I honestly had no idea how time consuming this process would be. Don’t get me wrong, it is actually a rather fun process at times, but it has sucked time away more dramatically from my writing than even, I think, moving this year did. In the last week we have slogged through home after home after home in neighborhood after neighborhood after neighborhood – we have seen houses without kitchens, houses painted entirely hot pink, houses next door to thai food restaurants and houses perched precariously on top of the city; we have seen houses, people. Right now we are in the fortunate position of having narrowed our house hunt down to three homes and are now spending our time hanging out in each neighborhood, doing the walk from our potential front steps to the bus stop, chatting with the neighbors, looking for gyms, and of course popping into pubs for a drink and a snack here or there. Okay, we do that everywhere. Our determination to continue living near public transportation are definitely limiting us and frustrate the native Pittsburghers we talk to because there is always a charming little neighborhood just outside the city if only we are willing to drive, but as Barbara Kingsolver said as she continually refused to eat commercial beef, our reasons are our reasons.

Thus, my writing report is rather brief…I worked on the novel twice this week by waking up even earlier than usual and I consider that a triumph. I finished By Sorrow’s River and it took a terribly sad turn…I am now on the lookout for a book that I can read distractedly, as I make my way through the next stage of the home-buying process and head to Boston for work. I’m thinking thick, I’m thinking funny…any suggestions would be appreciated.  This week I also read back issues of “Vanity Fair” and “Rolling Stone” and have decided after much thought I would trade lives with Tina Fey before I would with Carla Sarkozy but it was close there for a while. My blogging routine seems sadly established…1-2 times a week seems all I can manage, at least while I work on the novel. I think I am getting better at my work writing as people seem to be editing me less and less, but who knows?

Okay, so, here is the challenge portion of the post, and I do hope the founder of the challenge won’t mind:

In two weeks (because I only fess up every other week or so) – so, on September 26 – I challenge all of us participating in Fess up Fridays (and even those who aren’t, if they would like to join) – to do the following in addition to their fessing: post one paragraph of your current work in progress that you are really proud of, and discuss the writing process behind it. Was it laborious? Easy? What kind of work went into it? And then, post a paragraph from your current work in progress that you don’t like, and discuss the same. No need to explain your project or contextualize it – just use this space to talk a bit about your writing process. You can sign up by leaving a comment here, emailing me or linking to this post, and the following Saturday I will publish  a list of all who participated. I think it could be a fun way to begin an autumn discussion about the writing process. I’m honestly not much of one for “how to write” books beyond Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life because so often I don’t think writing advice helps me…I have a full-time job, a husband, friends, family and so often writing advice is written with the assumption that the writer has all the time in the world and simply lacks inclination and will. I have the latter two in spades….it is time that trips me up. I want to hear from the rest of you – men and women writing around the edges of a busy life. I will, of course, also be posting.

Happy Friday!

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11 Responses to

  1. Smithereens says:

    Lucky you when you actually can talk to neighbors and visit gyms! When we were house-hunting the market was so hot we only had half an hour to decide because other buyers were visiting at the same time! I bet you’ll have a more reasonable price too…
    Thanks for reminding me of Fess up Fridays… I’ll try to post on that topic! If time allows, I’m quite interested by the discussion on writing processes!

  2. laura says:

    Hey, that sounds like a fun discussion topic! Maybe I’ll manage not to be shy and post something of mine along with you.

    Wow, house searching sounds exhausting! Better to be picky though, and find somewhere you love. Good luck 🙂

  3. Dorothy W. says:

    Best of luck the house hunting — and it sounds great that you’re committed to staying close to public transportation. Hobgoblin and I have this bad habit of buying the second or third house that we see after about a day of hunting around, instead of doing a proper search, so I admire those who take the time to do it right. We didn’t regret buying either of our houses though …

  4. Emily says:

    It’s a lot of work!

  5. Love the challenge! It might be just the thing I need to get myself back into writing after a rather looooong summer break – going to Italy was SO distracting.

    Good luck with the house selection. I hope you find the perfect home that meets all your needs and fits all your conditions.

  6. yogamum says:

    What a great idea for the Fess Up Friday! I will do it but I might need a reminder 😉

    Today is going to be a “writing day” for me. It’s grey and rainy and a good day for getting lost in my writing.

  7. Cam says:

    Good luck wiht the house hunting. I admire your committment to public transportation.

    I like your writing challenge and look forward to reading what those who participate contribute. As for me, I haven’t written anything in such a long time, I won’t have a sample to share. I am planning on bringing a writing tablet with me on vacation next month and will insist that my spouse give me the space for quiet alone time while we’re at the beach.

  8. Andi says:

    I’ve been miserably out of the loop when it comes to blog reading, so it’s great to be back at your place. I’ve missed your writing terribly! I’ll be living vicariously through you in regards to house hunting. Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  9. Meriah says:

    Happy house hunting! I can’t believe that there isn’t a title for this post. Your titles are the best!

  10. courtney says:

    smithereens, oh good lord, only half an hour? I never thought I would be thankful for the mortgage crisis, but…
    Laura! Did you change your blog? I can’t access it anymore. I am going to leave you a message on facebook about it…
    Dorothy – oh man, we have seen, like, sixty houses. In a week. I am in a state of being utterly overwhelmed…
    Emily – yes, it is!
    Charlotte, so glad you will be participating! I am looking forward to running some challenges this fall.
    Yogamum – I’ll remind you, no worries about that!
    Cam – our commitment to public transportation appalls the people i work with. Sometimes I wonder if everyone is just in denial about our energy crisis?
    Andi – I think we are all a bit behind on our blogging and blog reading – it’s lovely to have autumn return for that, isn’t it?
    M – damn, I had a title! I don’t know where it went. I miss you!

  11. Litlove says:

    I’m up for the challenge, though what people will make of half-formed academic literary criticism, I do not know.

    I remember house hunting so vividly – ten dives for each possible property was the ratio we came out with. But I say look to your heart – you know deep inside which is the house that calls to you the most. And at the end of the day it’s the walls you live within that make all the difference – well, that and the neighbours.

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