My very best time of day to write throughout my work life has been first thing in the morning. I love to get up when no one else is up. No distractions. Me alone with my coffee, my journal, my computer, and my thoughts. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has been very helpful in disciplining me to commit to three pages a day. No need for grand inspiration or even threads to weave the ideas together. I do not lack ideas. Filling three pages of my thinking in my journal, which leans heavily to tangential considerations of life, is easy. Blogs pick up and develop one of those considerations.
In my mind, I somehow have separated journaling and blogging, as not really being the work of a writer. Of course, it is. My writing has certainly improved over the course my writing years. Yet, it is different. There is usually a thought that I am exploring in relation to my work as an educators or parent or social justice advocate. I want to extend my own thinking and communicate with the larger group. It has been a huge asset in clarifying my own thinking and defining who I am as an educator. Certainly it is the single best way I have discovered along the way to define my own narrative. It has also had a huge role in growing my professional learning network on and offline.
My latest writing goal in my mind is the what I consider the purest form or writing. The writing of a novel that grabs your attention, exposes you to a new perspectives, and leaves the reader in awe. My biggest block is I don’t want to write a beach read, I want to write an Ahab’s Wife, or Pride and Prejudice, or Alice in Wonderland that leaves readers considering. Wondering.
I continue to have work and life commitments, but they leave enough time for me to develop myself as a writer. Yet, with this aspiration, I have shut myself down. The task seems too big. Too intimidating. And as the morning disappears, so does the quiet and options to pursue become boundless. Yesterday, a friend referred to my place as “spotless”. A landmark comment that my husband and I noted as a slipping of the tectonic plates of our life. A cause for pause and celebration of this noteworthy event! But somehow reflective of what I have been doing to avoid the more challenging task of writing.
Thanks to the suggestion of Julia Denholm, another friend, I have been reading Anne Lamott’s book, Bird By Bird. She has often been quoted for sharing her father’s words to her 10 year old brother who was struggling with a daunting school project on birds: “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” The book is worth a complete read. It is funny and speaks to the importance of going through the process of writing the boring, the mundane, and the uninspired. It also provides some solid suggestions to try.
Apparently, I have been a “real” writer for years. Journals have capture my observations and perceptions of truth. Blogs have served the purpose of short assignments. Eavesdropping and index cards in Anne Lamott fashion, have captured glimpses into other possible truths and some great text. The shift to writing fiction is significant and represents a foray Ito the unknown. And yes, the day is gorgeous, the neighbourhood is waking up, and the options for a run, bike ride, another cup of coffee, are sometimes too enticing. I’m changing it up and exploring writing in the evening. The vibe is pretty good. Perhaps inspiration will feed the shift in my writing that I’m trying to accomplish.