It’s Day 3 of The Blank Canvas Blog Hop! Sign up for my newsletter (in the form on the right) and leave a comment below. One lucky individual will receive a signed copy of an anthology, winner’s choice, containing my award-winning work. Subjects include dating, autism, new moms, pre-teens, and family. Good luck!
Every writer faces it. The blank page. For most of us it’s often a puzzle where our inspiration comes from. Some days it’s there and some days it’s not. It’s maddening, mysterious, and also magical. So how do we court this ephemeral creature?
I know for me there is a definite ebb and flow to the creative process. Over the years, I’ve learned to trust that the fallow periods will end, just as the juicy periods of boundless creativity are also finite. Between these extremes there are long stretches of time that are neither. I am not filled with silence or overflowing with words. I simply am.
Through it all I strive to do one basic thing: keep my butt in the chair. I schedule regular writing time and honor it, just as I honor my other work commitments. I know from experience that my life doesn’t go right without a regular writing practice, so I must make time for this essential task. I would love to say I do this every day, but as a single mom it’s often not possible. Currently I strive to write on alternate days and have made peace with this fact.
Some days the words flow and others not so much. On those days I edit and revise previously written work. As a former editor, this comes easily to me. Sometimes editing leads to the writing of new material Sometimes it doesn’t. Whatever happens, I never beat myself up for not doing more. I remind myself it’s all progress towards the larger goal.
Blogging has kept my writing fairly consistent and provided some much needed structure and accountability. Several of my published pieces started as blog posts. Blogging also forces me to break subjects down into manageable chunks. While I may not have time to tackle a longer essay or chapter, it’s hard to make excuses about a 500-word post.
For the past few years, I’ve been content to work on my blog and other short pieces and let my memoir, tentatively titled My Guardian Angel Sings the Blues, lie fallow. I’d produced two draft manuscripts, but then I’d reached a point and didn’t know how to proceed. At first I tried to force the issue—without success. Then I simply let go.
Letting go is difficult and I tend to fight it. But I’ve learned over the course of my unplanned life that letting go it an essential skill. So I reluctantly let my memoir go and trusted that I would know when it was time to proceed.
I suspect now the real issue was that I wasn’t ready to write about a marriage that had recently ended. I could skirt around the edges, but I wasn’t willing or able to delve into the painful, messy truths. I was more interested in writing about my current life as a single mom to an autistic child than my former life as a married professional struggling with infertility.
Finally as my 50th birthday approached, I felt an overwhelming urge to tackle the project once again and finish. Last month I spent several weeks on the coast with my daughter and focused on the third draft. I managed to complete my first 100 pages. In December I plan to devote another week or two. My goal is to have the third draft completed before my 51st birthday next spring. I hope it’s the final draft, but even if it’s not, I’ll still be celebrating.
Thanks for joining our blog hop! Be sure to visit the other artists’ blogs to learn about their process and win cool stuff. I will be posting links every day to the current stop, so you can always return to my website if you get lost.
- Sept 8….Karen Friedland
- Sept 9….Lezette Markham
- Sept 10…Cynthia Patton ←YOU ARE HERE
- Sept 11…Jennyann Carthern
- Sept 12…Kiala Givehand
- Sept 13…Jan Blount
- Sept 14…Effy Wild
- Sept 15…Virginia Simpson-Magruder
- Sept 16…Dariana Cruz
- Sept 17…Susan Miller
- Sept 18…Grace Howes
- Sept 19…Tori Deaux
- Sept 20…Kiala Givehand
- Sept 21…Martin Arkenstone
- Sept 22…Nicole Piar
Until next time,