Yesterday I talked about how I was getting quite a few little “reminders” (read, Universal headslaps) concerning my writing and what I should be doing about it.
My friend, the Universe, being a singularly unsubtle sort, appears to have decided that this is really important. I’ve been led to numerous blog posts today, and not all of them via the UBC, dealing with writers and writing. Interestingly, I opened a couple which were not writer related and found them to be a bit on the depressing side, and either forced myself to finish them or stopped mid-read.
I particularly like what seemed to be a common theme today, though. Writers read. Not only do writers read, they read voraciously! Now, I don’t want to admit that I’m addicted to reading, but this is a partial view of my office.
What you can’t see here is that every shelf has at least two, if not three layers of books, and this is only one wall! I’ve given up countless hours of sleep to read just one more chapter!
But I’ve noticed something different lately. As I read some of my favorite authors, I find myself picking apart their writing style, or analyzing the bejeebers out of it, at the expense of my usual enjoyment of the story and the temporary escape into someone else’s world.
Although I don’t get too caught up in the scene setting, other than to ask myself how they came to know so much about Seattle or New Orleans or a small town in upstate New York, I am mentally picking their characters apart! It makes me wonder if this is also a known malady of people who write, either for themselves or for a living?
I’m picking up other, for lack of a better word, validations, from the blog posts I’m reading. It seems that my theory that blogging every day to get myself into the habit of writing isn’t so far off the mark. Some also say that it is a good way to get your product known even before you have a product to sell. Or rather, to market the product that is you. So really, the common theme here is that writing consistently, even if the result is, in our own, hypercritical minds, garbage is very important. (I am currently sitting on about 18,000 words of what I consider to be garbage, but maybe with enough editing, read, hatchet jobbing, it might have something of value buried amidst all of the chaff.)
Which brings me to another common thread. First drafts are, by nature, going to be a lot of crap and a few gems. One blogger used the term, “letting it simmer”. By this, he meant that we get everything down, then walk away for a day, a week, or however long we need to, then sit down and edit that draft until it flows and becomes something other people might not only want to read, but might want to PAY for the privilege of reading. Now how cool is that???
In the meantime, I have one book on my iPad and another on the way, so my list of excuses is shrinking by the minute. My moment of truth is rapidly approaching and I will have to answer the question: Am I an artist or an addict?
Meanwhile, I found today that little things brought me joy (aside from the fact that my co-worker’s plan was about 85% effective and my office no longer resembles a meat locker!). While driving home, I saw a car that looked like this:
My first thought was: Wow! That’s a great color and it makes me feel really joyful! My second thought was, Gee, I find joy in some pretty weird places these days! But, heck, joy is joy, so who am I to complain?
The big picture, here, though, is that as time has passed, I’ve gone from a depressed, emotionally beaten up wife of an alcoholic to a stressed out single mom, to a woman finding herself and the little things that make her happy, to an amazing, joyful, positive woman who finds joy in the smallest things! It has been a long road, and it certainly isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination. In some ways, I believe the path needed to be traveled before I was really ready to cut loose and try to actually write for someone besides my kids and a few friends.
Along the way, there’s another wonderful benefit to the path I’ve been traveling. I’ve learned to distinguish energy vampires from energy suppliers and have had to walk away from a lot of people in the last 10 or 15 years because I changed and they didn’t. We no longer felt good together and, in fact, with some, we were more like sandpaper on a raw wound or fingernails on a blackboard. More than a casual “hello” was almost painful for us, and so we drifted apart, drawn to others whose outlook more closely aligned with our own.
Even now, when I find myself falling into cranky pants mode, I notice it right away and put a stop to it because I don’t feel good with it either!
The fact is, I love the me who gets a smile on her face just because of a funky green car or who jumps up and dances in her office because Payphone just came up on her Pandora, or who gets up in the morning and has a meowing conversation with one of her cats.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the path I’ve followed to the person I’ve become, and look forward to more twists and turns between now and when I grow up.
2. I am grateful for simple pleasures.
3. I am grateful for continued signs that I’m finally on the right path, even if the road ahead is all fogged in at the moment.
4. I am grateful for quiet Friday nights with my cats, my computer and my thoughts.
5. I am grateful for all of the amazing, inspirational, positive people I am meeting along this new and exciting path I’m now traveling, and look forward to more, new, unique individuals as I travel into that foggy place.
Love and light.