Sometimes, that’s what writing feels like.
I recently finished a particularly difficult story. I’d written it over the summer. Then life happened, and while I wrote here and there and started new things, finished other things, submitted, and even came back to this story repeatedly, it refused to be finished.
This story became the terrible twos who kept throwing a spoon down on the floor and crying for me to pick it up only to throw it down again.
When my real children did this – I left the spoon on the floor and shrugged, “guess you’re using your fingers now,” but you can’t do that with a story, huh?
But what you can do with the story – as with all writing – is keep showing up. That’s what I did. I kept putting that story in front of me and trying to work out of the kinks. We can’t give up the story when it gets hard.
One of my favorite stories is one Stephen King tells about Carrie. I’m paraphrasing here: His wife found Carrie in the trash and brought it back to him, saying something to the effect, you can’t stop just because it got hard.
(of course these are the days when we used typewriters or notebooks and were able to physically put those in the trash and not just click delete, which, by the way, don’t ever do! Ignore the story, put it elsewhere, but don’t delete it!)
And I’ve read/heard the above King/Carrie story a few different ways, so it may not be exact; however, the point is – You can’t give up a story because it’s hard.
Even if the story never gets published – I learned something by writing it, by sticking it out.
The new term in student success is “Grit.” (I know, it’s also an old John Wayne movie). It alludes to the idea that the students who struggle and push through who will become a successful student and graduate. It applies across the board – school, life, and definitely writing! (Not surprisingly, to that movie as well).
I recall another story I’d had a particularly challenging time with. And just when I thought it was finished – the dreaded blue screen! It was gone. Memory wiped. I gave it a few weeks (and a long weekend in New Orleans) and came back at it. “Psychic Surprise Party” was published six months later in The Oleander Review. (It will be republished in May online).
Even if this one is never published, I learned something by doing it. I’ve learned something in all of these not-yet-published stories and poems. We are writers. We are driven to write. It is our little corner of the puzzle-solving-world in which we exist.
The next one might be easier. And maybe it’s this challenging one that will push something out of the way for the next one. Maybe the next one will be difficult too, but we’re going somewhere, learning something – keep pushing through.
That’s what makes us writers.
And we’re all a little mad here…..
To some people it is.
I have a friend who picks and chooses where he wants to be published so carefully that he submits maybe once or twice a year at most. He hasn’t been published in maybe 6 or 8 years.
He’s an extremely good writer. Better than I.
He says, he wants to only be published where his name will be seen, where it will matter.
I took this to mean he didn’t approve of my many publications with small presses, some of which no one has ever heard.
What do you value and why? Ask yourself.
Billy Collins, btw, began publishing in what he refers to as fly by night or small presses of which no one ever heard.
How did the three blind mice meet?
Why were they chasing the farmer’s wife?
Go – Write it!
Don’t you agree?
The start of a New Year is a great time to re-evaluate your life, and discover a new direction!
You can start the ball rolling by simply making a choice, “I am now ready for my life to change!”
This in itself is a powerful acceptance. On making this choice you are nudging the door open, ever so slightly, to new opportunities.
The next step is to create clarity by reassessing your life. Take the time to think about how you would like your life to be? What is working for you and what is not! Also include how you are feeling emotionally, for example are you happy, sad, feel loved or unloved, motivated? What changes would you like to make?
Formalise your conclusions by making lists, which you can refer back to, and expand on. If you are unsure of how to change your life and the steps to take, this is ok, as it will come. If the mind has clarity and guidelines from you, then anything is possible. You are basically opening your life, to new opportunities.
Take the time to put energy into your new choices, to move them into creation. From time to time go back and look at your lists – also importantly set yourself tasks with a time frame.
On accepting a new choice, opposition on the subconscious level may arise, and unknowingly you may create an obstacle in your path. At these times it is important to seek to understand what is actually happening, and let go of the negatives, and continue to affirm your positive, new choices. Keep going, be determined, hold to your dream and you will get there!
STRENGTHENING POSITIVE CHOICES -AFFIRMATION
Life is a matter of choice. I choose to prosper, to be aware, to be strong, to be adventurous and safe. I choose to be happy, to be confident!
I’m going to interrupt the flow of this blog , but we really should talk about how we deal with interruptions to our work.
I try not to take phone calls during my work time; however, sometimes I have to. A doctor appointment, a work call – all important, can’t wait until later. At least with those, you know you won’t be on the phone long.
The other day a friend called me. I hadn’t talked to him in over a month, so I wanted to see how he was. We live in different times zone, which makes scheduling time for a chat rather challenging. I told myself, even upon answering, that I wouldn’t talk long. But we did get carried away in catching up.
Set boundaries. I finally did tell him I needed to get back to my writing. He understands. Many people don’t, so I don’t regularly say that. I do tell them I can talk to them later or that I’m in the middle of something – both of which are true.
Phone calls and text messages are easier to put on hold – put the phone in the other room or turn it off. It really is not that hard. Having children or spouses is a whole different topic, which I’m going to talk about during another blog.
Right now, as I said, I need to interrupt the flow of this blog with an announcement.
You can win my short story, The Gold Tooth! Click here. This is only for a limited time.
Long lost sisters are reunited at the reading of their mother’s will. Celeste who has cared for their mother in her declining years is awarded a small, broken music box. The force of nature, Nancy, who hasn’t been seen they were teenagers, is awarded the entire estate. Before they leave the office, Nancy is given the option to exchange the estate for the box. Nancy laughs off the incredible offer and moves into the estate. What’s discovered in the music box could cost one sister her freedom and the other her life.