I’m not a fan of rough drafts. Never have been, even in grade school. I remember being in 3rd grade and doing one of those writing exercises where you brainstorm with with lines and circles all over the page with your ideas inside of the circles, and HATING it. I just wanted to get to writing. I knew exactly what I wanted to say but found it hard to undergo what I considered such a slow and tedious process. As I’ve gotten older I’ve even found it to be anxiety inducing which just leads to procrastination. I’ll never finish because I’m too worried that it’s not good enough.
In a nutshell, this is my writing practice-It’s rare that I write something down and then come back to it and edit it later, if at all. My default is to edit as I go. Sometimes it takes me longer to write, doing it this way, but for some reason, it’s easier for my words to flow this way and feels less encumbering. The words burn hot, I write them out, proofread, and BAM-I hit publish, or tuck away my journal until the next time I need to jot something down.
The drawback to this for me is that when I’m struggling mentally, my anxiety gets the best of me and I don’t write anything at all because it’s just too overwhelming. If my thoughts are scattered and frenzied and my mind is too loud, it becomes difficult for me to sit and just let the words flow…and leave them as is until I’m in a clearer headspace and can re-read, flesh out, and edit.
This month I’m doing NaNoWriMo and BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo to continue writing my memoir and write my thoughts here, but it’s less about word counts and completion for me, and more about flow. I need to get in the habit of sitting my butt in the chair and letting the words just pour out of me, whatever they may be and then letting them rest for a bit before I go back and excavate what’s there. I need to work and flex my writing muscle in a new way and become a bit more disciplined about writing as a craft. I want to let go, improve, find my poetic voice again, and implement fresh ways to tell the stories I’ve unearthed in myself and others. I need to do it quick and dirty.
2014 has been a year of searching for ways to embody who I am as an artist…and letting it drive how I live as a mother, wife, advocate, and a woman. To that end, I’m also taking November to dig deep and find out what my creative process, and how I can create words and art while still meeting the daily demands of motherhood and managing a household. I took a workshop tonight that my friend and story coach Elora taught called Finding Your Process. It was grounding soul work that asked me questions I’ve been avoiding but desperately need to answer.
I’m also taking Liberated Lines again, which I found to be really helpful with just letting the words come out just as they are. The class doesn’t start until next week, but I found words wanting to be expressed during my walk with Alex to preschool this morning. I didn’t have the baby with me so my hands were free to pick up the red leaf that caught my eye in the street. I grabbed my phone, snapped a picture and asked Alex to wait for a just a minute so I could post it to Instagram with what was dancing in my brain.
“She found hope laying in the street as she made her way across the unknown expanse before her. When she picked it up it burned hot her palm, leaving its truth imprinted on her being. She knew then she was ready for the journey that awaits.”
That’s it. Quick and dirty. No editing. I even came home later this afternoon and wrote some more in my journal based on the photo. It felt good. I’m hoping I can keep it going for the rest of the month and that it leads to a more embodied and fulfilling writing and creative way of living.