It is overcast and cooler today. I have my windows open and have been listening to the chirps and squawks of the birds around my apartment as I drink my first cup of coffee. It is finally summer and the freedom of building my own schedule everyday is bliss.
It was a stressful year in many ways, but I made it to the end. One of the main goals I wanted to accomplish this summer was to find a daily schedule that worked for me and to write again.
I had found my rhythm with writing non-fiction for a while, but only when I had a deadline. My novel and short story ideas would be present every day, but I could not get them on the page. I know it had a lot to do with fear and ultimately rejection. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to rip off the bandaid.
That’s what I did. I ripped off the bandaid and made room for my stories again. It’s been a week, five days of writing actually and in those five days I have shown up and produced work. My notebook is filling up, my pens are drying up and there are 17 pages of new work on my laptop.
I didn’t want to give myself a word count goal because that has tripped me up in the past. Instead I am making room for writing everyday and starting with at least an hour. I am finding I can write close to a 1,000 words in that hour and end up working for much more with outlining and research. Big chunks of time eek away and I feel satisfied and excited for the next day.
It feels good to come home to myself in this way. To be surrounded by notebooks and pens and stories. I am excited to see what I can accomplish between now and August, just by showing up.
This was a hard week. I had some major anxiety about medical tests for myself and my dad and didn’t feel 100% for most of it. Luckily, we both got some good news. I’m not out of the woods, but what they suspect I’m suffering from is a mild case. This is a huge blessing. I was very worried I had another surgery in my future.
So, this is going to be a quiet weekend for me. I have some things on my to-do list, but mainly I will be doing good things for my body and spirit. We are supposed to get a snow storm tonight and tomorrow which is also a blessing. Colorado has barely had any snow this year, and we really need it. I’m prepared to keep myself busy and warm until it clears or I have to leave for work on Monday.
I have been working a lot on non-fiction articles lately, but am also being called to write picture books again. Picture books can be fun and silly, or educational, however they also can be profound and comment on elements of our world and culture that affect us in deep, intimate ways.
I researched a bunch of picture books that were published in the last couple of years and borrowed them from the library. I love reading as reader, but also as a writer. There are so many lessons on craft on the pages of the books featured above. I have been brought to tears and covered with goosebumps with every title. There is such a captivating relationship between words and pictures that work together to create such a visceral experience.
I will be writing review posts for all of these books soon, but for now, they have been wonderful company on this quiet, reflective Saturday. I am hoping they inspire me to get more of my own words on the page.
I’m still pretty tired. It’s amazing how being back at school is taking it out of me. I haven’t been sleeping very soundly the last couple of days either and that probably has a bunch to do with it too. It’s crazy how easily I can slip back into my old ways of staying up way to late. I had a major power struggle with a student today, which was a bit exhausting as well. It wasn’t a power struggle, per se, because I was very consistent and would not budge with it. I am very stubborn and it actually served me well today. I was calm and firm. It was hard to hold my ground, but he was looking for an inch of wiggle room and I never would have got that authority back. I love him. He is bright and I enjoy working with him every day but he challenges me almost everyday as well. I think the is on the Autism spectrum and he is being observed this month. I am grateful for him because he makes me a better teacher. We are learning from each other.
On a nicer note, two of my 5th grade students finished my book over the Winter Break. One of them saw me in the hallway today before our group and stopped to give me a hug and tell me she had completed it over break. She struggles with reading, but she works hard to improve. She was so happy to talk to me about the book and she asked me when she could read another one of my books because it was so interesting. I said, “Well, I’m still writing it…”
She said, “You better get busy! I want to read it soon!”
That is inspiration and a lot of pressure 🙂
I told her how proud I was of her for finishing it and doing such an amazing job. It was the biggest book she has ever read and she read it in less than two weeks. It was above her reading level and she really pushed herself. She had a huge grin on her face and I knew she felt my pride and excitement for her awesome accomplishment.
I haven’t been writing. I think about it all the time, but I haven’t even tried to write anything other than journaling or Morning Pages in months. Having the students enjoy my book so much and be excited to read what’s next has been a revelation and inspiration to get off my duff and just try to get some words down. I have had little spurts of inspiration with these WIP’s, but mainly a lot of one step forward two steps back.
I resolved to write more again anyway, so time is of the essence!
What inspires you to keep writing and persevering when writing gets tough?
I know I will see that student’s grin in my head from now on when I sit down to write.
I have a distinct feeling that I am being led to incorporate magical realism in my current wip. I’m a bit daunted by this, but excited to try it as well. I’ve been doing more research. I’ve been exploring ways to unlock this writing style and genre within my own writing. I am excited by the possibilities. I’m going to do as much reading as possible this week and then take what I learn back to my story.
Wish me luck.
I have spent the better part of the weekend trying to clean up the mess that is my life at the moment. That sounds more ominous than it really is. I have been drowning in school work, resumes, cover letters and laundry – I worked super hard this weekend and still have an insane amount of work to do.
Today, I finished my laundry, read for class and reorganized my room. Well…started to reorganize. I still have quite a bit to do tomorrow, but I’m glad that I put a dent in it today. I have been putting off this reorganization project for over a month and it was getting a bit out of control.
I am extremely organized in most areas of my life, but I seem to let my living area go as I try to accomplish everything else. If I worked on it in little bits every week, I wouldn’t need this reorganization. Hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.
My wip’s are also very messy at the moment. I have been flying without a net with both stories and seem to have created quite a mess. I tried to jump into the story and go with it, but I don’t think I’m a writer who can follow the story as it unfolds without any parameters. Unfortunately, I seem to have pulled at a tiny string and now the whole sweater is unraveling…
I will work hard the next couple of days to finish my big living space reorganization and then I will focus those spring cleaning energies on my manuscripts. I need to reorganize a better working outline and get on the road again with my characters.
Sometimes you have to stop, clean up and start again.
Courtesy of FreeFoto.com
This is a four-day weekend – kind of. I don’t have school with my kiddo’s, but I have class on Monday and Tuesday 😦
It will be nice to have a little extra time to work on things though because things are definitely piling up around here.
On to some writing news…I’m feeling rather stuck again. I’m stuck in the middle of both my wip’s. I think I’m over thinking and that’s making forward motion difficult. Part of me wants to stop and work backwards. I feel like I need to do some back ground work on the characters and maybe write some scenes that won’t necessarily make it into the book, but will act as a compass for me – the writer.
Or…I might just work on scenes. Out of order. That idea makes me a little nervous. I’ve never worked through a book out of order, but that might be exactly what I need to shake me out of this and get me working again.
This is all dandy, but I have to actually work through this and write! This is key – obviously. The last two weeks I have let my crazy life take over again and my writing momentum has fallen by the wayside. I’m going to work on fixing this today.