I didn’t do much this l-o-n-g Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, save for the ekphrastic poem I wrote for a writing group, I didn’t do any writing at all. I could have. I had time. But, I think with all the writing I knew I needed to do… book two manuscript, more queries for book one, poetry project… I just needed a few days of idle nothingness.
To be honest, doubt snuck in… maybe through an open window. I’ve slammed it shut with the blustery draft outside, but it did its needed damage. Suddenly, I felt that “what-if” weight of possible failure in the manuscript I’m querying. I had to work at positive self-talk not to let it drag me under. I’m still nervous about it, already thinking of ways to change my story, to make it better. That’s when I knew I needed a pause.
And, Thanksgiving was the perfect excuse.
Each and every time I started to think negative thoughts about my work, I thought of something to be grateful for. Just being there for my family… watching sports, playing games, setting the table for dinner; these still moments helped me through the dark. They reminded me there is more to me than my writing alone, and it’s those “other” parts that make my writing what it is. Maybe a break to be me is exactly what I needed.
Now, Sunday afternoon, I feel rejuvenated and eager to write again. I guess my writing tip this week would be to give yourself a break. Make time to “be” in your non-writing life, because it just may be the lift you need. It doesn’t mean you’re procrastinating. I’m choosing to let my hiatus be the cook time my writing needs.
Advice that’s saved me time and time again, from my writing friend (and Poetry Sensei), Kenny; let your words cook for a while. It’s important to get away from your writing. Your brain knows what you are trying to say, but your hand may not have typed or written what you thought you wrote. Your flow could be off. There could be blatant editing mistakes staring you in the eyes, and you miss them. Or your words might be exactly as you meant them. Taking time away might be the assurance you need. After a little break, I return to my undone projects with fresh eyes and a fresh heart. It’s all part of the process (and the journey). And…
Ultimately, my family likes me better when I spend time with them. So, a little time off from writing is a great excuse for that!
A Little Something Extra ~
My ekphrasis poem is below. It’s part of my thankful heart this weekend. These kinds of poems are a new format for me, and a lot of fun. One of my writing groups has been posting them daily. I have only done three, so far, but am enjoying the challenge they provide. I like seeking the feelings the pictures evoke and analyzing what comes out. A positive exercise for all kinds of writers or artists, give it a try with the picture below:
“Description” in Greek. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.
Eyes on the Prize
Golden wheat like the sun,
to keep my eyes on the prize,
to keep me alert and in rhythm with the wind.
My bones won’t snap,
Not this day, or the next.
My body is made for this work, and I exhale in triumph.
My back bends like rolling hills,
as the others take their rest,
I pause only for the moment, inhale an earthly breath.
Nourishment to revitalize,
for this bounty is my blood,
my tomorrow and the next. For him, my babe at the breast.
I will keep standing, and put my face in the sun,
welcoming the push of the day,
I am thankful.
Categories: Thoughts on writing...