Saturday, September 16, 2017

Writing Time Conundrum

It's past 11 p.m., not a good sign for a writer who goes to bed semi-early. I'm tired, but this blog has been calling me to give it a good helping of something for a while. Hello, blog, here's a spoonful.

My toes are cold because I'm outside shoeless on my screened-in porch, a new addition to my life. I wish to report that my writing is flowing freely these days on the porch and that the next novel is just moments away from being for sale. No. Not the case. My life has become far too busy. And here is where I stumble: What do I give up to take back the writing time?

Random cute puppy photo from my sis-in-law.
My cousin asked me a few months ago if I made any money at it. You mean, writing books, I asked. He nodded. No, I admitted. Not the fake stuff. Not the stories from my imagination. Nor the poems. Those don't turn the lights on or put gravy on my potatoes, and that's why it's hard to justify the necessary concentration/time it takes to put out something good. My "product," if you will, has a process, as does every writer's. Mine comes out about the same way I read, quite slowly. I was never a quick reader. It takes me weeks, often, to finish a good book, even if it's a page-turner. I don't rush through reading, and this also makes me a slow writer.

Although these blogposts take me about 20 mins to draft. Why is that? I just basically spit them out at you. Sorry about that. Here's a tissue.

There's a chicken/egg catch, too. If I wrote more, I might get faster, and I might make more money, and then I could write more. You see where this is going. So, here I am writing. Is it working yet?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Literary Circus in Asheville, North Carolina

Look at those beauties! Writers, all of us. We've become a "thing." An Asheville creative collective of women who write and perform. Of all the ways I could expend energy, this has become one of the most fun and uplifting because we're redefining what it means to be successful writers in a commercial, hypercritical literary culture.

Not that we don't care about quality. We do. We're each interested in improving our work. For Randi Janelle (far left, purple hair) that means cultivating a creative life and mind, channelling, being happy, teaching yoga, and performing. For Alli Marshall (second from left, striped scarf, closed eyes), this means writing every day at dawn because she loves it, working with other artists to make new art, leading a local writing group, and memorizing poems...because, well, shouldn't you? For Nina Hart (middle, abracadabra hand), her work has evolved into a full-time career as a writing and creativity coach. Watch out for Nina--she can spot negative self-speak before the paint is dry on your faux mea culpa, and she may give you a sock monkey to stay positive.

Photo by Adam MacMillan
As for the last gal on the far right (in turquoise and impossible scarf), she's still figuring it out. She's more about flying by the seat of her pants, playing it fast and loose, scribbling a poem, pecking away at a novel, writing a public letter that uses the word pu**y (the cat, silly!) about 25 times (yes, I read it at the Fringe Festival. No video!). She loves playing with words, publishing a few other than her own, and maybe someday, a few of her thoughts strung together will see the light in an eager audience's eyes.

We came together to take the downer out of being unknowns. With financial rewards and wide recognition seemingly out of reach, we decided to make our goals less about admiration/acclaim and more about pushing the boundaries, airing our creative voices, and enjoying the writing more. A year into this experiment, it's going well. We've had four successful events (with public participation), and we're planning to publish a zine later this year. The fun may just be starting. Hula-hooping encouraged. Bring your sock monkeys.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Maybe Stuck Means Something Else

Okay. I'll admit it. I'm stuck. Not writing much of anything these days that would fall under the category "creative." Oh, I did write a nice little one-liner poem a few mornings ago: "Tiny mouse, the end of your nose is just the beginning." It has potential.

Flipping through my journal tonight, I ran across a notation from last June, when I felt the same malaise. By the way, journals are good for seeing your patterns of thought.

"I haven't written in months. It's almost like I've lost the will to write. Not the will to live, just the will to write anything creative. This is not a sad place. It is just a place. Like a dead space that Moses may have created when he parted the Red Sea." (Funny, this close to Easter and I think, Charlton Heston. I was thinking this a year ago, too.)

"I think of that scene in the movie when people walk down into the sea next to two solid masses of walls of water. Many were scared, but they did it and walked into the void. I guess I'm there, trusting it's the right place to be right now, not knowing how long I'll be in this strange void.

"I don't really have the desire to write on any of my projects. They are just unfinished pieces. Some are done, and some aren't, and I really couldn't care less either way. I've let go of the guilt of being non-productive."

Today, same. No shift. Just stasis. Non-productive dry sea bed.

Except, tiny mouse.