Week Twenty-Four

This week has seemed really long. The first week back teaching after any break is always long but this week seemed ridiculous. Getting back into the routine of things is tough going. My body doesn’t want to go to bed at a sensible time and my brain doesn’t want to focus on the work it has to do, you know stupid stuff like preparing lessons and resources. This week I’ve reverted to being a grumpy teenager! Thankfully though I live by myself so I’m not putting anyone else through the agony of acting like a teenager…unlike first time round.

As you know I’m following both the NaPoWriMo & A-Z Blog Challenges this month which means writing every day following a prompt. I’m enjoying the challenges but I think it’s also a little bit to blame for why this week has felt so long. I’m not used to writing on a schedule. I’m not used to having to publish two things every day. Believe me, I know it’s good for me and it’s great for my writing but this is the tough training part before something becomes natural. There are many thoughts on how long something takes to become a habit but the majority seems to suggest around 21 days.

(http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/09/how-long-to-form-a-habit.php)

Maybe this time next week I can report how easy I’m finding the challenges. Maybe I’ll want to give up this teaching melarky and become a full time writer.

I have the utmost respect for full time writers (and also a little slice of jealousy) I enjoy reading about their process and how they create. One of my favourite books is On Writing by Stephen King and if you’re at all interested in the craft I encourage you to read it.

Those who are full time writers obviously have their own process but a large majority of them approach writing like a full time job. They have their desk/office space and go there from 9-5.

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”
(Mary Heaton Vorse)

They stay there even if they are not writing. They stay there and train their minds into accepting the seriousness of what they are doing. They are trying not to listen to the inner critic. They are trying to adequately capture what is in their brain and spread it out on paper for someone else to experience. And I guess that is what I have been doing this week. I’ve been trying to be mindful of the process, not just treat it like something I bought in a pound shop. One of these days I’m gonna need that process to make a living.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

(Ernest Hemingway)

Reading info this week:

Start & Finish I am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis

Still reading The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

A change is as good as…..

 

“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

 

This is how I want to live. It’s a simple enough thing to ask of myself isn’t it? I have always wanted a life of adventure, of new and different, of WOW moments. I’ve had a few, don’t get me wrong but I would like more. I want to squeeze every last drop from every day and fall into bed and think, “If today was the last one, well then it was pretty damn good.” I want excellence and adventure in all walks of life. I know the bills need paid and the dishes and laundry need done but I want to do them in the midst of the adventure and not have them be the low point (or worse the highlight) of a day. I want to see new places, cultures, meet new people, smell new smells, eat new things…or just the same things on different plates. I want to go to work in the morning and make a real honest to goodness difference to someone’s life. I have so many expectations of how I want things to be that I’m not sure I can list them all here.

 

In the last while I have been thinking about change. I’ve been searching out possibilities; I’ve been looking at all the options. I’ve been taking stock of where I am and what has been going on. I’m now in the very lucky position of being able to plot and plan where I want to go next. For the last four years I have been studying part time whilst working. I’ve finished now and thankfully have graduated with my Masters in Education. I’ve also stopped working with Scream Blue Murmur (the performance group I collaborated with for six years). I am now in the position that should I choose to, I can go anywhere or do anything. And so this is where the quandary is – if you can choose to do or go anywhere….where do you go and what do you do? The only thing I am certain of right now is that there must be a change. It is inevitable.

 

I think change is healthy. No, in fact, I think it is vital. For me it speaks of security rather than insecurity like some have suggested. I know how important my family and friends are to me and I also know that I will not lose that no matter where in the world I am or what job I am doing.

 

Change is also important when it comes to creativity. You need to constantly sharpen and refresh your creative store. You can’t keep writing the same poem over and over, you can’t keep creating the same characters in your novel or play, and you can’t keep using the same chord pattern in each song. Well you could, but it would be boring, rigid and unreadable/unlistenable after a time. The creative spirit needs to be amused and entertained. It needs to be handled with kid gloves, like a small child with the attention span of a goldfish, on a sugar high. At least in my opinion it does anyway.

I think change is good for my creativity. Change, coupled with fear and stepping into the utter unknown is also working wonders for me. This blog is an example of that. I’ve had it for years but never really used it properly. I’ve made a conscious effort over the last while to document and record moments and feelings as and when they happen. It may not be good writing but at least I am writing. For so long my writing and reading was limited to work related study. Everything was dry and academic therefore my creative brain had gone to sleep. Now I am slowly but surely reminding it that it is time to come out and play. This blog helps. It’s the steady hand as you’re learning to ice skate. It’s the safety barriers down the side of the bowling lane.

You should see what it’s done to my poetry….and of course when the time is right, you will!