He says, It’ll be easier tonight. I won’t be home to distract you. He scoops some orange macaroni and cheese onto my plate, and I take a bite. It’s a small bite, but it’s a start.
I wonder, how did this happen? How did I go from writing hundreds and thousands of words, to this dry well. I have nothing for my blog; nothing for my novel; nary a word for a poem or short story. How is it that I can attend a creative day such as Writers’ Day, followed by the first ever NH Literary Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and return home to a month of nothing? Even the Hall of Fame cake — especially the cake — was more creative than I have been this past month.
I’m embarrassed to admit, I received criticism at Writers Day, and I froze.
I wanted to blame my lack of writing on spring fever, but the snow is barely gone and it hasn’t broken 55 degrees yet. I considered claiming busyness, but I’m no more busy than usual. I wasn’t ill, overworked, tired. There were no births, weddings, or God forbid, funerals.
The good news is that the criticism came from a reliable source, was accurate, and was given gently. I took these unwanted gifts, and turned them over and over until I could see their worth. Then I signed up for several classes, focusing on the writing techniques that I needed to learn. Now, with new tools in hand, I’m ready to write again.
Several of the steps I’ve taken to get myself moving again include:
- I signed up for two all-day workshops at GrubStreet in Boston. Not only did I get excellent training, but I got to enjoy the train ride, hike around Boston Commons, and hang out with my nephew and his fiancee.
- I checked out MFA programs, and am weeks away from signing up for my first class.
- I’m taking an on-line class in May and June.
- My Thank You book has been dusted off and reopened. When I first started writing regularly, I’d get up at five AM, write until seven, and then regardless of how much or how little I wrote, I’d add a note in my Thank You book. Entries such as: “8/5 720 [words] Thank you for a productive morning.” Or “9/1 667 Thank you Lord” filled the pages for three months. It’s time to do that again.
- When my alarm rings, I remind myself: “Every morning you pick between two choices. Continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them”.1
- I take the time to read encouraging words shared by generous writers. One of my favorite sites is Writers In The Storm, which recently shared guidance on getting and receiving feedback.
- I’m enjoying the beginnings of spring: the birds, flowers, and mud.
My fifteen minutes of writing has turned into sixty minutes. I have clawed my way back to writing with gratitude grappling hooks. Tonight I scrawl in my book:
4/29/2015 574 words: Thank you Andre Dubus III for Townie’s Thank You tip.
1) If anybody knows the source of this quote, please leave a comment and I’ll update my blog. I’ve been searching, but all I see is “anonymous”.