From here on out, I’m writing my posts in letter form. Sometimes I’ll write to you, dear readers, sometimes, I will write to others or even objects or subjects. This is a coming together of an old project from the past and a desire to get back to this space where I write about writing for two purposes: to invigorate my own work and to inspire you in your own story-making, whatever form that takes.
I’m a writer, but I also love taking pictures and doing collage. I hope to feature more of that work here in the future. The underlying assumption of this blog is that making time to construct our stories through our art leads to a more purposeful life, a better world.
I am, as usual for the past seventeen years, at work on a novel. I wrote my first novel in 2005 for NaNoWriMo. I will be forever grateful for that challenge for giving me the impetus to believe that I could write an entire book. I’d been writing short stories and poems for fifteen years at that point. I write slowly, without excess, so it is still a bit of a shock when I write my way to the end of a book. I’ve written a number now, though aside from the one I self-published, they’re all in the proverbial drawer for now. I’m okay with that. You aren’t going to find much focus here on how you need to contort yourself to get published. You will find loads on how to get yourself to your writing space and do the work, how to do that work in a way that makes you proud of what you’ve done. You will also find some posts about the mind/body connection in this work. Movement has long been a conduit for me to story-making. I’ve got a book about this simmering on the back burner and my autobiographical novella certainly started that conversation.
The search engines prefer that I include subheadings throughout my posts, so I’ve decided to embed some single words throughout that add up to a message to you for each post. The words will add up to the title of the post. Because–why not?
During my day job, I’m a high school teacher. There are so many reasons to look forward to summer, so believe me, I am not complaining. However, when it comes to creative work, summer is often not the idyllic writing retreat people assume it must be. During the school year, I get up at 4 am to get my writing in before my day starts. This tight structure actually helps me focus and put in the work. Summer can be a bit more loosy-goosy, so I’m working on an approach this year that might keep me moving forward while also honoring the play and rest that summer is meant to be. I’ll keep you posted on what I come up with for that.
For now, I am writing my way to the end of the school year as I have been all year. Up at 4 to write on weekdays. Saturday I fit in a couple hours of writing time when I can. That “when I can” hasn’t worked out consistently, so I’m strategizing about that. Though it took me a long while to admit it, I do better writing in the morning.
to your reply,
Sundays sometimes are critique group meetings, but not always. It’s a tightly constructed plan to make time, with loads of grace built in, because we are people, not machines, and there will be times when your energy and momentum ebbs and when it flows for all sorts of human reasons, and it’s best to be the wave, not fight it. If you are a writer looking for an online writing network for accountability, critique groups, workshops, and the like and are willing to pay a small fee for that space, Inked Voices is a lovely place for that.
I do this work because I started when I was fifteen years old writing little poems and observations in my notebook. Who doesn’t have an identity crisis at 15?! No exception here. That’s around the time I started having panic attacks. Thank god I discovered yoga and walking. I found some relief from the intense dread I felt if I walked or emulated the yoga poses in the book I’d gotten as a gift or the second book I picked up at the used book store. I would walk home from my job at Burger King rather than take the bus, sometimes I would walk just because. It took about 8 miles to walk across Aberdeen and Hoquiam and there was something about making that distance by foot that started a seed of hope.
I still feel sometimes when I’m walking like I just want to keep walking and not stop. Like I want to skip work, or just not go home. There’s an ease and a freedom I feel that is a relief. This quote from the Lit Hub article Walking Distance by Lizzy Stewart resonates, “I think about walking a lot and I have tried to work out why it is the only way that I can clearly visualize myself. I think it makes me, an uncertain person, into a machine in forward motion, definite and capable.”
I am anxious this week because summer is so near. As much as I can’t wait for it, it disrupts the tight routine I mentioned earlier. Today, I’m going to sit down and make a summer writing plan and hope that will assuage some of this fear. In years past I’ve tried sticking to my school year schedule and it hasn’t worked out so well for me. Regardless, I’m going to sit down today and commit to something. I’ve got to. I’ll keep you posted.
Mostly, though, I look forward to the ease of summer. The Seatlle Public Library published their book bingo and I planned out what book I will read for each category. I’ve started with a re-read of A Visit From The Goon Squad, my book group’s pic for June. What are you reading this summer?
In summary, I am still here making time, hoping the same for you. I’m switching over the a letter format for future posts, because it just feels right. I’ll write again soon—
My light sees your light. Let’s keep making time.
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Some past posts to keep you making time:
It’s about the routine and how you shake up the routine
There are things you will have to give up
Monday, a run through the driving rain
Oneliness–A meditation on poetry, a particular poem by e.e. cummings