Skip to main content

How to Get Back to Writing

So interesting to read Colleen's post, below.  After weeks on the road lecturing and leading workshops, giving my guru-energy to others and gently and generally setting writing aside for a time so that the work (and I could) rest and recharge at the well of human contact, the voice inside me (as I said it would in this post) told me that it was enough.  Time to begin again.  Time to sit and write and revise again.  And so I did, beginning a few days ago.  How good it felt.  The back of my chair.  Wing of cherrywood.  The heart, the keys ready to take the punch again.


There are habits I've developed over the years to get back into writing when I've been away from it for a spell.  One is not to make too big of a deal of it.  Don't start on Monday.  Pick a casual day of the week (I chose last Thursday), and if possible go back and revise something that has already been written (you see it so clearly now, don't you, you can get a handle on it, whereas a month ago it was ice at the bottom of a very deep bucket).  Slash and burn with delight (keep a copy of the original document because you may get a little overzealous at this point, what with all that recharged energy scraping the letters off your keyboard.  Will someone please invent a keyboard that doesn't succumb this way?).  If you are beginning something new, give yourself some time to prologue (log in) and  preamble (ramble) and clear your throat with sentences or lines of poetry you're probably not going to keep anyway, but will get you in the mood again, will remind you of how fun and wasteful creativity can be (not everything is precious) and how wonderful it feels to be doing doing doing until the moment something clicks (this will feel like the right color crayon levitating out of the box).  And there you are.

Try not to go until you are completely spent, that first day or week.  Save a little, hold back.  There's plenty more where that came from.  This is not Black Thursday.  The store will not run out.

And finally, no deadline, not just yet, please, at least.  It's all right to play, for a little while.  To remember why you started puzzling over words in the first place, how odd and flimsy and feisty they are, to remember how they sink on you and then suddenly bob up again, to remember the slipperiness, and laugh.  Shiny, funny things.

Back to writing.  Back to chair.  Back to life.



Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.