Change of Season Inside and Out

This summer seemed to be a perfect growing season. We had a lot of warm and humid days with just the right amount of rain.

My focus was on the outside. Gardens and traveling. Getting together with family and friends.  Going all the time. Focusing on other people and other places.

The farm fields were bursting with life and growth. I don’t think I’ve ever seen corn so tall. Some of the roads felt like driving between tall, green walls of cornstalks. Most of the wonderful views were hidden until now, as row by row crops have been harvested and it feels like the world has opened up again.

With the change of seasons I find myself drawn inside more. Both inside myself and indoors. Time to bring my attention closer. Like the views, my mind is opening up. Maybe it was growing season for my thoughts?

Soon there will be snow drifting over the open fields. It’s time to make my home a cozy haven for the cold months ahead and explore what has ripened in my mind.

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That’s Okay.

Summer has flown by for me.

It has been full of growth, experiences, and a season of transitions. Good and bad. And not just for me but for the world it seems. It was just full to the brim. Overflowing, really.

I think I felt overwhelmed by so many things and in some ways shut down. Yet at the same time I was observing all that I could. Really feeling life. Really trying to understand all I was seeing and experiencing. Which was great!

I’ve also been exploring different outlets of creativity which is fun and exciting.

My writing stopped. I kept up with my journaling but not really any other writing. The strangest part of that was that I didn’t care. I go through dry spells but when I do I’m always wondering why or worried about not writing. Not this time. I didn’t worry and it was okay.

I think my energy was going to other things. There is always so much to deal with in life so I was doing that. Again, good and bad. I just went with that energy.

And that was okay.

Now the words are coming back. The first sign of that was not sleeping well. I have to be writing regularly otherwise my thoughts become too numerous and unruly. They are like petulant children who aren’t getting enough attention and begin demanding it. My priorities become unclear and I end up doing too much of everything except writing. Writing helps keep me and my life in order.

I don’t even realize that this is the problem until I try to write it out. And then its like the flood gates open and I get writer’s cramp from trying to get it all down as fast as I can. And it comes out in a disorganized jumble of thoughts.

This gets messy. And this is why I should know better than to let it go so long. But it’s exciting to get back into it again. I hope it lasts to become a habit again. Time will tell.

I decided to write a blog post. You know, start small and say hello again. Hello!

Well, that became five pages of handwritten notes that probably could be revised into at least a half dozen or more topics.

Like this post. I’m sitting with my scribbled notes and had planned on writing something totally different. These are the thoughts that made it first. Fascinating, isn’t it? The way our minds work?

And that’s okay.

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?