Sometimes, I should just take my own advice.
The last couple of months trying to write and finish (finally!) the latest Jennie Manning novel has been a practice in patience and frustration and faith.
Patience that writing time will happen but not at the times that I’m use to or as often as I’m use to.
Frustration that I am not as prolific as I once was and would like to be again. Also, that I’m not submitting as often as my contemporaries are.
Faith that it will all work out as it should and that I need to focus on the entire craft (reading, anaylizing, learning, observing) than just one aspect of the craft (writing).
Can’t say I’ve been successful at all of these practices. In fact, I will go as far as saying that I’ve failed at them. Badly. But that’s the thing about spring, isn’t it? The renewal, the chance to get to start again.
That’s why I no longer make writing resolutions in January. I make them when the leaves are returning to the trees and the blue of the sky is never ending and stretches beyond horizons and imaginations. Now is the time to make promises and rededicate oneself to their craft.
This year, I got some help with that promise. I’ve been accepted to the VONA writing workshop. What is that? Here’s some knowledge that, quite frankly, I read several times a week myself.
I’ve come to understand the significance of this in stages starting with the initial shock. (Seriously? This email is true?) Then it moved on to excitement. Then to more excitement. Then to if-I-don’t-think-about-it-I-don’t-have-to-realize-how-I-don’t-have-ANYTHING-to workshop. Then to this feeling:
THIS IS HAPPENING AND I’VE GOT TO GET MYSELF TOGETHER AND NOT WASTE THIS OPPORTUNITY.
This is the current state of affairs.
Then I remember what I submitted in the first place. The story I submitted was the one I wrote about last time, where I was revising at the back of a double decker bus on the way home from a visit to Houston. It’s a story that is more than 2 year old and that I’ve done some work on, including traveling on a train to Saint Louis and listening and learning about some jazz music. From that travel, I learned so much about writing historical fiction and even found inspiration in the people who I had lunch with on the train.
I think that’s what gives me the most pleasure, that this short story (which like most of my short stories is threatening to become a book) isn’t something I sat down and wrote in one afternoon. It grew into its own and become something that people think is good enough to be part of a workshop.
A friend of mine recently said that one should record their life as if it is art. I think I did that with this story. In those words there is truth and I have used it to chronicle life.
I think that THAT is what makes me the most proud. That somehow, in the middle of the non-writing I’ve been doing, something unexpected happened because I just let it be.
So now, because it’s spring and it is the time of re-dedication and rebirth, my resolution is to let it be. Let the story, the writing life, be what is needs to be. To chronicle life as art and let it bloom.
Yup. That sounds like a pretty descent resolution to me, don’t you think?