Not surprisingly, I've been too busy to write. Yes, even a tiny poem won't be squeezed out at the moment. And don't we writers know how to procrastinate in the best possible way in order to avoid writing? Coffee, dishwasher, newspaper, the dreaded internet...all time-wasters of the highest order!
But like the best writers I know, I've been writing-of-sorts in my head. Poetry is easier to carry in your head than an entire novel, I'll admit. Nonetheless, it seems that everything I've encountered...laid hands on in the past few weeks has redirected me to the writing. And it's a good thing.
Whether that's yarn (like twisted, spaghetti-thoughts), the fog that my mind (and the most inspired words) usually seems to reside in, the crazy-blinking lights in the darkness or the proper tools to apply to the chaos that first lands on the page...it's all been an echo chamber.
And didn't we just (this weekend) scavenge the reusable section of what once was a stone-filled crib that the float dock was hitched to and convert it into a shore-deck for early morning coffee; for relaxing by the water; for supervising swimming children? Yes. Just as with raw writing, boards were cut and cobbled together like salvageable words and phrases to create an impression (no matter how shaky it looks to the writer, lol).
There's value in everything! Keep your observant-writers-eye trained on the world around you and lap up summer like the elixir it is.
Non-writers think the words just flow from a writer's pen like magic in some sort of blissful perfection. Not true. Although a writerly mind tends to focus (often too much) on minute details and obtuse observations, our thought are usually spat out onto the page just like everyone else's.
So this past week as I tackled my first bag of knitting yarn that arrived in skeins instead of balls, I had over an hour (that it took my to maneuver it into proper form) to contemplate how this soooo relates to writing. It's kinda like when you're stripping wallpaper or mowing the lawn and your mind has time to wander...to what? Well, writing, of course. And the dumping of first draft material onto paper is very similar to managing a jumble of strands into orderly fashion, no?
In the end, it's about having the tools - a swift here - and then practicing the process so that your muscles - in the case of authoring, your writing-muscles or freewill-capacity - remember exactly what they're doing as you put pen-to-paper. Training your mind to relax and let the words flow (unedited!) is what it's all about. Editing, perfecting, polishing comes later.
What's needed is akin to the aligning of disparate strands/thoughts/words into fragments/phrases/(dare I say) sentences. I'm most often a poet, so I don't even worry so much about sentences. Dig deep and dredge up the feelings because emotion that you, as writer, deliver to the page, your reader will find and feel from the page.
Practice doesn't have to make perfect...just get it done!
Although I don't attend my larger Writers' Community (wcdr.ca) as often as I want...should...used to, I attended their morning networking meeting this morning to partake of the insight and expertise of Katie Hearn (Editorial Director of Canadian children's publisher, Annick Press) with special thanks to my friend/author, Sylv Chiang (look for her middle grade series Tournament Trouble at your local bookstore - my grandson's love them!) What Katie reminded me of is the need for writers, firstly to write; butt in chair with commitment and drive. Then to connect with other writers for support in a lonely occupation, brain-picking on next steps in the publishing journey and exposure to the best of the publishing industry's brain-trust (that's the expertise part). Vital stuff for writers of all level of experience!
Then I was reminded of the motivation garnered from the energy in the room. Yes, that's the 'push' such a gathering of writers gives us naturally-layback-shy-to-put-ourselves-out-there sorts. And I'm one of them. Even though you've come to expect me to send my stuff out on a regular basis from all the blathering I do where my poetry's concerned, I'm as complacent as the next person when it comes to submitting my children's stuff or my memoir manuscript. As an aside, I'm considering indie-publishing the full-edited-ready-to-go memoir that's been collecting dust for the past 5 or 6 years.
But this afternoon, I was fired up about my middle-grade manuscript; written at least 5 years ago. Sure, my pitch letter needed a few tweaks and the synopsis was stored on an unused flash drive. I had to pull everything together, but I had a name to put on my e-submission. Dear so-and-so is much better than to-whom-it-may-concern, don't you think? So, for my hour's worth of effort, I'm rewarded by the satisfaction of having-submitted. Come what may (most often the rejection that I take in stride by de-sensitizing myself to it...by rote), at least I've gotten off my gluteus-maximus to JUST DO IT!
Write on...my friends!
PS: Sometimes you're work is a contest winner (like this poem of mine that recently won the Calgary Poetry Contest 2019) Enjoy!
Poet. Writer. Teacher. Artist.