Monday, February 7, 2011
I have to make a confession.
I've been cheating on you. I know, I know, I don't know how it happened, I just... well. I've been writing somewhere else.
The thing is, once upon a time, a long long time ago, I wrote fiction. Poetry too, sometimes a lot, but always fiction. Short stories, plays, a novel I almost finished, etc. And gradually I just... stopped. I can't really explain what happened. I thought for a long time it was because my life had become happy and stable, and that my writing stemmed only from pain and chaos.
It was a theory.
I tried to keep writing after getting happily married and discovering all of the joys that currently fuel my spirit: handwork, gardening, cooking, etc. Every few months I'd get a story idea, but I'd be stuck with the idea, stymied by how to start, feeling like the words just wouldn't flow. I had pretty much accepted that my writing mojo was just... gone.
And then I started writing in this space. Without the pressure of having to somehow "make art" with my words, I was able to start letting the words flow. And in a more tangible way than just writing in a journal -- here I was able to get feedback, to have some accountability for my words. The frozen mechanism of my writing mind began to thaw.
Then this past summer, I got an idea for a children's book. A "middle grade reader," as they say, a chapter book not a picture book. And this time, I was able to take the idea and immediately start stringing words together. That rusty old mechanism was able to get going. My friends, it's going rather well. I think... I think I might actually finish it this time.
Then, round about the last time I posted in this space, I picked up a gig doing some freelance writing for children. Lots of little assignments with due dates within 48 hours. Fiction, nonfiction, 300 words here and 800 words there. It was the sort of writing exercise that in many ways I should have been doing for myself all along, as part of the discipline of keeping that writing mechanism well-oiled and functional. But now I was accountable to someone else, I couldn't sit and fuss with a piece, nitpicking and trying to make it perfect. I just had to send it out the door, and move on to the next one. I had to find the muscle-y hard-working side of my writing brain, the part that comes to work whether or not it's feeling inspired.
And now it's like the Fourth of July up there in my head. I've got more ideas than I have time to write them down. I am simultaneously working on three different pieces that I actually think are going somewhere useful. I even somehow mustered up the hubris to write for grown-ups again.
I haven't forgotten about you. I'm not sure how this space will evolve when I am spending so much writing time holed up in the privacy of my imagination. But meanwhile, you know, I'm still here. Just... blessedly, delightfully distracted.