My Excuse is Spring

I was on a roll with writing and then spring arrived. With spring comes an energy that I get swept up in. The whole world around me comes to life and I become a part of that.

Even though I have only a tiny piece of this earth to take care of, it takes time and energy. Because this house was new construction I am taking the care of this bit of ground seriously. I feel it’s my job to heal and rebuild my little bit of land.

So I’ve been raking, weeding, mulching and planting. I’m very happy that I planted so many bulbs last fall and am enjoying the crocuses, daffodils and tulips.

I’ve had fun seeing what the anemones would do since I’ve never grown those before. Bulbs are so cheerful in the spring and well worth the effort.

Gardening is also creative. I spend a lot of time trying to decide what to plant and where. It’s fun to think about colors and textures. Gardening is a bit of trying to predict the future; envisioning how plants and flowers will look when they are mature.

There is something about spending time on the ground that is so healing and calming. Stewardship of the land is a two-way street; the land and I take care of each other. Ultimately this is the basis of life here on earth and being able to literally be ‘hands on’ is wonderful.

This post got a little deep, didn’t it?

So back to writing. I have seasons of writing too. Luckily I have a few friends who periodically ask me how my writing is going and that is the gentle nudge I need. Now I am back at it. Thanks to you who keep me going. I appreciate it.

I would write more today but the outdoors is calling!

I hope all of you are enjoying spring or whatever season you are in. Keep creating where ever you are!

Who Do You Write For?

When you are writing, do you think about who you are writing the story for?

And does it vary according to the story? I find that it does for me.

Right now I’m working on a story that has been evolving for a few years. I feel like I am writing it completely for my own enjoyment. When I get it done I’ll be curious to see if I want anyone else to read it and if so, will it resonate for that person? If not, that’s okay because this is a self-indulgent story.

I’ve written other stories that just have to be written and quite frankly, sometimes don’t even feel like they are my words or my kind of story. Those are the ones I like to share and hope they were written for others to enjoy.

I have read that some authors write while thinking of a specific person or a kind of audience that will read the story they are writing. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that except in a very loose way like maybe and age group. I think that would be very intimidating and I’d be afraid that it would interfere with my creativity.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve been influenced by a certain person and a story idea will grow from that. Sometimes I want that person to read it and other times I wouldn’t dare show it to them or let on that it had anything to do with them.

Have you written something that you felt was so strong and said so much only to have someone not get it at all? That can hurt. I had that happen in a class once and the teacher completely missed the point. Luckily a fellow student spoke up defending my story and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized that it wasn’t the story but the reader. And we have no control over a reader.

That also happened in a writing group but it wasn’t so traumatic because I knew the members of the group well and expected some of them to not get it. I enjoyed the discussion that followed on the different interpretations of my poem. That was a good lesson of not having any control over the reader.

There are various quotes from famous authors saying something to the effect that while you are the author of the story it belongs to you but when you send it out into the world you truly have to let go of it because then it belongs each reader.

That’s why I’m curious as to whether you write with a specific person in mind and if so, do you let that person read it? I would think that would be the ultimate act of bravery in putting your words out there. I think it could be terrifying. It could also be exhilarating.

For the most part, I think that’s why I write for myself. Then, if I’m feeling really brave, I’ll share it. And if the reader gets what I was trying to say, then that is just the best. Isn’t that what all authors dream about? Finding common ground? Feeling that we all share that experience and we aren’t alone?

Another Kind of Blank Canvas

I haven’t had the urgent need to write for a while and that’s concerning to me. After giving this a lot of thought, I think I’ve figured out why.

It’s this new house. The fact that it is new and we are the first people to live in it means it’s a blank canvas; ready to be filled with whatever we decide.  

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

In February I made a note to myself with these words:

New house. This is a blank slate, an empty canvas waiting for us to paint our lives onto. It holds no secrets.

Today I will add: It has no expectations. It exists. Now it is up to us, to me, to fill it with wonderful things.

And that’s where my creative energy is going.

I find myself visualizing what colors to paint the rooms. What kind of furniture and art to decorate it with. (Mainly how to refresh what I have since I haven’t won the lottery!)

Most important of all is to fill this house with love, positive energy, laughter and happiness. Because I truly believe that wherever we live absorbs our energy and I want to make sure that is good energy.

I feel like homes, whether they are individual houses or apartments, take on the life of their inhabitants. You can feel that when you enter any home. Some places make you feel like you need to be very careful not to disturb anything and a need to leave as soon as possible. Other places invite in, encourage you to take off your shoes and curl up on a soft seat.

Have you ever noticed how quickly a house will fall into disrepair when it has been left empty? It seems to happen much quicker than seems natural. When a house is truly abandoned it quickly falls apart.

Which brings me back to my point. This house is taking a lot of my energy to turn it into my home. To turn it into a space that is as nurturing as a person. My refuge. My cozy safe space. A place where I can recharge my energy, be creative, be happy.

So I will try not to worry about not writing as much as I have in the past. I know I will do more writing in the future. I have too many characters, stories and ideas not to.

I see many ways to express myself creatively which I look forward to. I’m being creative and that’s what’s important.

Stay tuned! I’m sure I’ll have more to say and maybe more to show!


Writing, More Tortoise Than Hare

A._gigantea_Aldabra_Giant_TortoiseI mentioned in my last post that I was thrilled to have reacquainted myself with a story I started a couple of years ago and was off and writing like crazy. Now I have slowed to a crawl but instead of being daunted by this, I’m continuing to write even if it’s a sentence or two at a time. The fun in writing fiction, for me, is the surprise of how I get there.

This story is tricky. I know where I want it to go and why but making sure that I make it clear to a reader who isn’t in my head is the puzzle. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the nuances of the story as shown in my mind with what I am getting onto the page. And this story is very weird but fun. Once I get it all down, it should come together. I hope.

This is also a short story which I find much harder to write. I tend to write in scenes. There isn’t as much wiggle room to get from one scene to the next in a short story. I’m sure I will end up writing much more than I need to and will then cut it down to size. It’s all part of the journey, right?

Does anyone else sometimes feel that writing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle? Finding tiny pieces of the whole picture and putting it together in the right order? That’s okay with me. I like doing jigsaw puzzles too.

I’m proceeding slowly and trusting that the words will sort themselves as I go. And didn’t the tortoise win in the end?

Will a Story Wait?

I haven’t been working on my fiction writing much at all for the last couple of years. At least, I haven’t put a word on paper. During the brief times when I thought about my writing I also got a niggling tiny fear about whether I would want to keep writing and if I did would the stories still be there?

There are at least three of my unfinished stories that have been waiting patiently while I dealt with life. And they gently prodded my attention throughout this time. They whispered to me that they were still there and wanted to see what happened next. Or they would give me a scene to show what was coming. Sometimes I got an entire concept of how the story should go.

I paid attention to these moments and found comfort in knowing that these characters and stories still mattered to me. More importantly, I still matter to them.

The other day I picked one of these stories and searched my files for it. I found files that I don’t remember creating and will revisit them eventually. Since they haven’t stayed in my consciousness, I will be curious to see if they still have life. For now, I will focus on the stories who have remained alive and full of energy.

I’ve let stories go before and when I go back to them I can’t recapture the voice or the point of a story. Sometimes I find that sad but mostly find it puzzling. But one story in particular has been on my mind a lot so I started to reread it.

I reread it twice. And I was immediately back! It was thrilling! I started where I left off and wrote almost 800 words without hesitation. And I’m ready to continue.

I am beyond happy to know that some stories will wait. I had to trust that would be so because I knew I didn’t have the energy to write for a while. This is Big Magic. Just like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book by that name. Which is a very inspiring book, by the way.  

I wonder why some stories don’t wait. But those are thoughts for another day. For now, I need to write the next scene.

Isn’t creativity fascinating? Have you had stories wait for you?

Writing or a Lack Thereof

I haven’t been writing despite the fact that I am chock full of new experiences.

I think a big part of it is because I am trying to absorb so much right now that I haven’t been able to put words to all I am feeling, seeing and experiencing. I don’t even know where to begin.

One reason I keep putting off posting here is because I keep discovering amazingly beautiful things that I want to share but feel I really need to have a photograph to go with it. Then I don’t want to stop and take a photograph because I’m enjoying what I’m seeing. I want to just be in the experience. I don’t want to be one of those people that miss things because they are so busy trying to record it all. So I found an image online that shows a bit of what I’m talking about. Thanks to Wikimedia for this image.

I had this novel idea that maybe I should work on my descriptive writing skills and see if I can capture any of it. Duh! That’s what a writer does! I’ll see what I can do.

So I am starting with this:

We recently moved to a very rural and extremely beautiful part of the world. This is rolling farmland filled with hard working people. Our house is new and built in a tiny old village. We can walk to a bank, a tavern, a general store and some other small businesses. There is a fire company manned by volunteers. I am discovering that this is an area of community. Of people taking care of the land and each other.

I drive winding country roads and the views are breathtaking. There is one high point in the road where I drive daily which curves around revealing a view that goes on for miles and takes my breath away. Fields and farms. Dramatic sky with majestic clouds and beams of sunlight shining through. I know this sounds corny but it’s real and I hope I never take it for granted.

We originally decided to move this way because the cost of living is so much cheaper than where we were but we continue to discover more and more wonderful things here. Priorities seem to be more in tune with us. The pace of living is slower which is great. People are friendly. There is very little traffic and as far as we can tell, little or no crime.

Even though we have only moved a fairly short distance, we feel we have landed in a new world and one that we are very happy with. I feel like I am starting a new life here. And I feel like I’m on an adventure discovering new things daily.

When I manage to get pictures I will share them. In the meantime I will try to paint this new life I’m living in words and hope I can capture at least a small part of what I’m experiencing. I need to start again somewhere so I’ll just dive in and see what shows up. I hope you’ll come along and if I manage to get it right, maybe you too can find some of these things fascinating too.

Writing Levels

I know I go off on a variety of tangents and subjects in this blog but I realize that I need to get back to writing. I need to do more writing in general. I have discovered that when real life demands my full attention my writing gets pushed into the background. And that I usually suffer for not getting words onto the page.

I have discovered through the years a few things about my writing habits.

The first thing is that I have to write. I’ve tried giving it up, repeatedly, when life gets crazy. I know that writing is the way I put life into perspective. Writing is how I work through things good and bad.

The most direct way I work through things is by keeping a journal. That is the most shallow writing I do but it allows me to get my monkey mind under control. Do most writers have overactive minds? When too many ideas and feelings have built up I have to write it out. It usually comes out with no order (kind of like this post) but if I keep writing eventually the really important things make themselves known and the rest I can let go of. Journal writing is the one form of writing I am consistent about. I think it’s self-preservation.

Writing fiction or as children say, making things up, is a more indirect way of dealing with things but a creative way to explore. And safe. Instead of taking out anger on someone I can create a fictional scene and work things out that way. And the opposite of that is taking a negative situation and creating a positive scene to replace the real one. It makes me remember what it was like as a child when I would play by acting out feelings. That does wonders for my state of mind. Everyone should remember how to make believe.

When my mind is in a calm state, then I can get into pure creativity. That’s when I do my best creative writing. It’s when poetry comes to mind and words and ideas flow easily. A calm mind is when I will write something that is so crystal clear and alive in my imagination that it feels real. Sometimes more real than real life. And on the opposite of that I have written things that I will go back and read some time after having written it and be surprised. I wrote that?! Wow!

Now that I’m getting more settled into my new home and life I hope to be able to get to a calm state of mind and back to my creative writing. I have at least two stories that I have left hanging for a very long time. The characters are waiting patiently for me to have space for them again. I’m getting there.

How about you? Do you have different levels of writing? Or do you use your writing in different ways? Does it help you deal with life or are you able to completely separate your writing life from whatever is going on day to day?

I find the process, desire and need to write fascinating. I would love to hear your thoughts about it.