I just had an epiphany. I realized that over the last month, I've tweeted, blogged, promoted and talked about my writing. Have I actually written anything new? Well, I did make some notes for a new play. And I submitted three older stories to publishers. And I read a dozen short stories, essays and book chapters. Does that count? Not really. I figured out why I'm out of sorts, feeling sort of blechy, feeling anxious, like I'm about to spew, even.
I haven't done any REAL writing.
This morning, I was reading an excellent book by Priscilla Long, titled The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life.
In it, Ms. Long recommends writing for fifteen minutes every morning. I USED to do that, before we bought this old house and started the remodeling process. If anything, I should have written more, because there was an experience that can be turned into stories, and perhaps a book.
Luckily, I took thousands of photos, so I can use those to prompt my memory later on.
|Photos can make great writing prompts. This one reminds me of the barn swallow families that we "raised" at a former home. Perhaps it will lead to an article about the swallows, or a short story about wildlife.|
Julia Cameron, in her classic book, THE ARTIST'S WAY, also recommends writing Morning Pages, three pages of WHATEVER you want. This is a similar idea, except it's timed.
One thing that Ms. Long recommends that I've never done is to put each day's entry on a separate page, and title it. Brilliant idea! That way, when I go back through the writing, I can find where I wrote about my experiences as a kid, living in a bait shop, or I can find the page where I made a list of possible names for a character, or some suggestions for beginning first lines.
She suggests that these little bits of writing can turn into stories, or you can use your 15-minutes to work on any of your Works in Progress. What a good idea! I often have to fight with Mr. Inner Critic to get to work, doing the REAL work, which is writing. I can write ANYTHING for fifteen minutes, can't you?
Write on! and, as always---