I am beginning to learn even my multi-tasking mind has limits, or at least seasons. While in some seasons I carry out several great feats, in others, I slow down to refine only one. Writing projects are unfolding for me like this. And it feels good to acknowledge that it’s okay.
Typically, I can focus on a multitude of projects at one time, nurturing them as I would each seed planted in a rich and colorful garden. Bean vines laced like Christmas lights over kelly-green radish tops, next to feathery bouquets of tarragon. I can step from plant to plant, watering and pruning as needed. Although other seasons, I find the hunker down approach is far superior. My late grandmother’s aloe vera comes to mind. Coming from her Eastern Washington farm to my rainy-wet Seattle environment has not bid well. I find myself settling down to focus all my attention on its lone survival.
That’s where I am today in my writing. I have all these other loves, writing poetry, my series, and figuring out what to do with my chapbook manuscripts, or the children’s Tanka I’m trying to create. But my mind? My mind is currently on a narrow path to finish my novel rewrite. My readers are most likely sick of hearing about this. To admit, I am a little tired with it too. Not tired of the project. It’s a living, breathing part of me… like the aloe vera plant. What I’m tired of is the time. I’m fed-up with the waiting for the one day it will be done. And so, I keep writing about it (because it’s my journey).
But alas, this is the motivation behind the permission I’m giving myself: It’s fine to let the other things go… for a while. I think inspiration needs its own time to cultivate. So, while I let my poetry and other projects soak up needed nutrients from the earth, I will focus on this one writing project. It fills my head, my dreams, my bones daily. So why not heed its calling.
Ah, the way of a writer.
At the same time, I’m off to Google research about aloe vera and how to grow it successfully in a wet climate. I can do these two things as my writing life always hinges on my personal life, and vice versa.
As I type these very words, I laugh out loud at the irony in these two lives tousled about in my head. My rewrite is my aloe vera plant.
I find joy nurturing this tiny, struggling piece of myself along, because my book and rewrite is symbolic of the very fact I call myself a writer. My aloe vera plant is the last piece of my grandmother. One day I want to pass it on to my children. When I think about it, they are both pieces of me, my heritage. My legacy.
And so, I write where I’m called, trusting the other projects in my garden will soak up the gifted time needed to grow… or until I can get to them. Happy Writing to you all!
Writing Advice: Plant Something New
You may have inferred I have a green thumb by my garden analogy above, but the truth of it is I don’t. I appreciate gardens, and have attempted and failed at them many times, but they seemed the closest parallel to my situation, (with that confession stated, I am, in fact, nursing back struggling aloe vera from my late grandmother’s collection).
Then I got to thinking, writers’ words are like seeds. Once forced out of dormancy, they need care. Some plants are hearty and can manage themselves (I can’t name any with confidence, as I’m not truly a gardener, but I know they’re out there). Others need your attention.
Decide what plants you have in your writing garden. Some are waiting to be left alone a while. They may need to stretch their roots and grow for a time. Others need your immediate care. They need organic nutrients or perhaps held in just the right amount of sun. Once you’ve identified your various projects and their needs in your imaginary garden (thanks for sticking with this analogy), decide your new focus. You might need some gloves and pruning shears. You might need to simply turn a flower pot a different direction to collect better light.
Perhaps it’s time to plant something new.
As you consider where you are in all your projects, you can better decide which one needs the most attention right away. Whatever you find… be intentional. I think this might be the way to cultivate the best outcomes.
~ By Celaine Charles, March 24, 2019
https://www.joyusgarden.com/aloe-vera/ (aloe vera close-up)
https://www.pinterest.com/beckyjoyartist/ (garden painting)
My Grandma’s aloe vera – me!
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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