This summer, the composition of my MA thesis has pushed my creative writing off the dining room table. The deadline for the finished work, August 26th, is getting closer and closer, and thankfully my word count is getting longer in turn. Meanwhile, my novel is staring at me from the back corner, waiting for me to come play with it again.
When it comes to writing well, I’m a big advocate of working a little bit every day. I think there’s no way to become a great (or even very good) author except by sitting in one’s chair and, well, writing. But there are some other things that help, too, like deep reading, traveling, running, yoga, and meditation. (I practice Transcendental Meditation, with which David Lynch says “life gets better and better.”)
While I long to get back to my novel, I recognize how writing this thesis has improved my short stories and hopefully my novel as well. After all, in order to complete this thing, I’ve read loads of poems, stories, and literary criticism, and I’ve written and scrapped and rewritten probably 20,000 words in all.
Today the thesis writing continues in Les Pères Populaires, a bar and workspace in Paris near Nation with cheap drinks and tasty food. Locals lounge around reading newspapers, and a ten-year-old girl mans the juice bar with a bandana around her head. I may have just seen a mouse duck under a couch, but I’ll chalk that off as my imagination.
The only thing I can find really wrong with the place is that their coffee machine is not working today. Normally this would be a grave offense, but I’m willing to pardon them for it if the ambience is enough to inspire the completion of Chapter 3.
And then? Who knows, I may even give my novel a little TLC.
Where in the world do you write?
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About the author
Rebekah Lee Mays is an American freelance travel writer who’s lived and worked in Europe for the past three years. Her fiction has been published in Hobart and the Forge Literary Magazine, and she currently studies literature and creative writing a few blocks from the Luxembourg Garden in Paris. You can follow her adventures on Twitter.