Friday, January 4, 2013

A Commitment to Writing

Each year, as I create my list of resolutions, I set out to devote myself to a practice of daily writing.  And every year, I soon find I have slipped out of my practice, and one day without writing leads to two days, leads to a week, and before I realize it, there is yet again, a lack of devotion, a lack of commitment, and ultimately, a lack of writing.

In 2012, as I was preparing to leap from Alaska to New York City, I created a blog, this blog, in order to share stories and images of my adventure in The Big Apple.  Beyond accomplishing my goal of sharing stories and images, this blog quickly became my practice of writing, sometimes daily, sometimes less so.  

When I began to write this post, the post you're reading right now, I was prepared to chastise myself for not fulfilling my desire to attend to a daily devotion to writing, to criticize myself for my laziness, my disappointment in my Self, my failure to create space and time in my life for writing.  As my fingers clicked and clacked upon the keys of my keyboard, it occurred to me that I did in fact devote myself to the practice of daily writing that I so desired; it was just that my writing didn't look the way I had originally that envisioned it would. 

I didn't recognize this blog as a writing practice because it's not in the format that I typically prefer, which is a blank journal and a fine tipped pen.  I have yet to fully embrace writing on my computer and I'm desperate to do what I love most: wake early, sit in stillness with my journal and my favorite pen, let the energy of the day flow around and through me and write.  Ah, to write.

And yet, here I am, doing exactly this.  How interesting this is to me. And what a fantastic reminder that for me, writing is my lifeline, my connection to my Self, to the world around me, to nature, to feeling grounded, balanced and at peace.  When days go by and I don't write, I feel disconnected, off balance and unhappy.  

How interesting that I set out an intention to write and that I have been writing, but not recognizing it.  

In this new year, I recommit to my practice of daily writing and allow myself the softness and forgiveness to recognize, to acknowledge and to celebrate that I am, in fact, writing.  And when I am not writing, that's okay too.  It's a practice which takes, well, practice and time to put in to place.  It's not intended to be a prison of flogging and bad feelings, leaving me uninspired to write.

Below are some quotes I found on the practice of writing that I thought I'd share.  I'm also sharing my list of my personal goals with regards to a life devoted to writing. 

"My journal has 365 blank pages, open, undemanding, quiet, empty, waiting to be filled, yet content to sit for now in a cloud of unknowing.  This year, as I write, I want these pages to reflect love, simplicity, order, harmony and joy, with just enough chaos to call forth creativity and new beginnings.  These blank pages that lay before me, expectant opportunities for newness and growth.  Pray I don't disappoint." Adapted from a writing by Jan Thurston


"It’s very difficult to write a good poem. Beauty gets in the way.  Poets get in their own way."  Anonymous


“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus." Enid Bagnold


“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” Allen Ginsberg


“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.” William S. Burroughs


“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”  Ray Bradbury, WD


"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair--the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page."  Stephen King


Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead, Gene Fowler

My Writing Goals for 2013:

1. Write a minimum of one hour each morning
2. Complete one poem and one story each week
3. Read three books each month
4. Submit five poems/stories/articles for submission each week
5. Lessen other commitments in order to spend more time writing
6. Improve my writing space
7. Limit use of social media and internet to after my morning writing time
8. Return to writing in a journal vs writing on my computer only
9. Take writing classes
10. Join writing group that provides opportunity for writing and critique
11. Participate in public readings
12. Fix consistent weaknesses in my writing
13. Take regular breaks during writing time for exercise, fresh air, breath
14. Research magazines (online & print) to submit to
15. Enter writing contests, competitions, paid and otherwise
16. Submit freelance ideas to local groups
17. Write handwritten letters 
18. Publish or self publish book of poetry
19. No more excuses
20. Write what I know


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