Writing about writing

Posts tagged ‘love of writing’

Last day of NaJoWriMo for October 2015

NaJoWriMo, Day #31—Saturday, October 31, 2015

Today’s Prompt

tumblr_meqrmvGB6v1re99nqo1_400 (1)This being the last day of NaJoWriMo, write a letter to your journal about the last 31 days of journal writing. Write about the challenges, what you learned along the way, and how your thoughts changed about what creativity means in your personal life. 

Dear Precious Journal,

I have enjoyed this past month with you so very much. While I don’t typically need journal prompts in order to write in my journal, I have enjoyed almost all of the prompts for October 2015. I especially have enjoyed the fact that some friends and students have been participating this month as well! A few of them have shared their journal entries with me, but obviously journals are meant to be personal and not everyone feels comfortable sharing their journals—as it should be. I just tend to be someone who is willing to share it ALL for some reason without fear! I just like to. That’s the way it is—for me.

I wish every month was National Journal Writing Month. It should just be National Journal Writing Year! LOL! Regardless of whether or not we’re “celebrating” National Journal Writing month, I plan to continue writing in my journal every single day.

One thing I discovered this month while writing my journal entries using Microsoft Word has been that instead of just including a picture as part of my journal entries, I can actually use a picture as the background—a watermark—for my whole page for my journal entry! I wish I could do that with my digital journal, Penzu. The one negative about doing it that way is that if I want a separate watermark for each entry, I have to leave each entry as its own Word document rather than putting them all together as one month-long document. But that’s ok.

Up until this past week, I even printed out my daily journal entries and glued them into my printed journal! The only reason I quit doing that is because I finished that journal! My new one isn’t designed to be able to do that as nicely as the previous one. At least I can still print them all out and put them in a book if I still want to do that with all of them into one.

Because of my background studying the works of Julia Cameron, I’ve been learning more and more every year that I am a very creative being. I’ve never really thought of myself as such because my scrapbooks aren’t as creative as some of the ones by my scrapbooking friends, I can’t create anything like wreaths or such like, I hate decorating—yes, even for Christmas—even though I love all the decorations, and I simply don’t make visually creative STUFF.

But the reality is that because of my love of writing and the fact that it brings me joy, plain and simply, makes me Creative. It doesn’t matter if I prefer to write nonfiction rather than fiction. The important thing is that I love to write. I have fun writing and I honestly do feel creative when I write.

I can’t wait until the next NaJoWriMo—April, I do believe!!!

Losing My Umph

orangeflowerI LOVE to read, play on my computer, scrapbook, sing, drive, shop, and write–as well as a lot of other things, but these are the main things that I truly LOVE to do.  I’ve even written previously about how writing for me is the same as breathing.  I have to write.  It’s not something I simply want to do or even just something I love to do–I HAVE to do it.  Honestly, if I happened to be stranded on a deserted island, the one thing I would want with me would be paper and pen/pencil.  If I were in a zombie apocalypse, the one thing I would miss even more than chocolate cupcakes would be paper and pen/pencil.  God’s honest truth.  I could even do without reading for a time because eventually, if I had paper and pen/pencil, I could read what I’ve written and that would still be reading at least!  But I could never give up writing.  I would find a way–just as the Marquis de Saad found a way to write despite having every possible writing utensil taken from him, I would find a way to write.

Yes, I love to write THAT MUCH.

But I am finding myself going through a dry spell right now.  Normally I write every single day.  I have gone almost a full week (7 whole days) without writing much of anything.  I haven’t completely stopped writing–that just isn’t possible.  But I have stopped writing every day just for the pure joy of writing.  I haven’t written in my own personal journal in these 7 days nor have I worked on my Memoir.  The weirdest part of it all is that in spite of how very much I love to write–need to write, I have absotively posolutely no desire to write in my journal right now or to work on my Memoir.  I pick up my journal and put my pink or purple pen in my hand (I alternate between pink and purple ink) and….NOTHING.

I have even tried to write “I have nothing to write about…..I have nothing to write about” over and over and over again, but that hasn’t inspired me to write anything else beyond that as it normally does.

I know the drive, the desire, to write for the pure joy of it (especially in my journal) will come back–and it will come back soon.  But my question is this:  does everyone go through a dry spell even when it comes to doing something we truly LOVE to do?

Do all lovers have a dry spell when they aren’t intimate–for a period of time?

Do bunji-jumpers find themselves just too busy to go jumping–for a time?

Do surfers need a break from the waves–sometimes?

And my list goes on and on…..Do we all need a BREAK from doing what we love or from being with the people we love?  I don’t think I’m the only one….am I?

And why is such a break necessary?  For you see, I don’t see this dry spell I’m going through as a permanent thing; I know at any moment I will pick up my pink or purple pen and write until I can’t write anymore simply because I can no longer feel my fingers.  I don’t know when, but I know it will come back to me–soon (eventually).

creativedryspellI don’t feel upset that I’m not writing so much right now–even though writing for me is the same as breathing.  I am okay with the fact that I have gone a full 7 days now without writing anything in my personal journal.  I’ve still written throughout the last 7 days–just not in my journal or anything really just for fun.  Ok…wait a sec:

1.  I wrote a blog entry in my “To Read or Not to Read” blog because I finished another book.  I’ve actually written two separate entries within the last week.  Neither is as long as my entries normally are, though–which isn’t really a bad thing.

2.  I wrote a blog entry for my “Joy Regardless” blog right at a week ago–and it’s pretty long.

3.  I’m writing this blog entry today.

4.  I’ve graded almost 75 essays within the last week and commented on each and every essay.

5.  I’ve replied to just about every single email I’ve received–and I typically don’t reply with just a yes/no.

So I have written–I just haven’t written in my journal (or worked on my Memoir) which, for me, means a dry spell.

What brings about dry spells even when it comes to things to we love?  Does everyone experience them?  Why do we (I) experience dry spells if we (I) love doing something as much as we (I) do?

(BTW:  note that nowhere in the blog entry do I discuss or ask HOW to end a dry spell.  That’s not the point/focus of this blog entry, ok?!)

A week’s worth of Reading Deprivation

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I am currently reading Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY.  I have read other books by Julia Cameron and I really like the things she has to say.  She’s been there, done that as far as writing is concerned and I have come to trust her.  I find it difficult to do EVERYTHING she suggests in her books, but I do find that the things I have done that she recommends are very beneficial for my art–Writing.

I love to write–as I have shared in this blog already.  It is as much a part of me as breathing.  (As is reading, so you may be able to imagine how difficult this week already is and I’m only on the 2nd day of Reading Deprivation!)  I HAVE to write.  I love writing for myself (journaling).  I love writing my blogs–this one and my “Joy Regardless” blog (link to that one is available at the top of the screen) whether anyone reads them or not.  The fact that people are reading them excites me, but humbles me as well.  (Thank you.)  I love doing the writing I do for my job as an English instructor (assignments, emails, proposals, etc., etc., etc.).  I simply love to write.

The problem, though, is that while I have a dream of being a PUBLISHED writer, I find myself stuck in that regard.  I have written several books–mostly during NaNoWriMo (November), but I have never done anything with them.  I know that my serial-killing-teacher story is one that is worth revising and attempting to publish and I know that my Memoir is also one that NEEDS to be revised and shopped for a publisher.  But instead of doing anything about getting them published, they are languishing on my laptop, getting “dusty” from lack of use.

So in an attempt to jump-start my publishing career, I have turned to Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY to help me get motivated.  She is a great motivator.  But I am finding her “suggestion” of Reading Deprivation to be one that makes me want to punch out the lights of anyone who comes near me!  I started it last night and I yelled at my husband and son because I couldn’t find something my husband misplaced–even though I was sure I knew where he had put it!

But I want to give it a shot.  Julia Cameron talks about in week 4, how

“If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation. . . .Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us begin to immediately fill [sic–split infinitive] with new words–long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion.  We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static.  In practicing reading deprivation, we need to cast a watchful eye on these other pollutants.  They poison the well.

If we monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum, we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation with embarrassing speed.  Our reward will be a new outflow” (87).

In doing this Reading “Fast” or Reading deprivation, for 7 days, I will also have to give up a lot of my computer time because so much of the reading that I do is online–Facebook, emails, blogs, etc.  As an English Instructor, a week’s worth of Reading Deprivation is impossible completely because I will still need to check my school emails periodically throughout the week for important work emails–from my boss, other co-workers, and especially important emails from students.  I have created an automatic out-going message, though, for all my email accounts that state that I am doing this week of Reading Deprivation and have asked that if they need me either to come see me or call me instead of email me.

I have also sent out an announcement/email to all of my students letting them know that I am doing a week of Reading Deprivation, but that does not mean I am unavailable to them.  Again, I told them that if they need me, either come see me or call me.

Reading deprivation also means NO READING WHILE I AM IN THE BATHROOM.  I can’t even begin to explain to you how very difficult this one is going to be!  Even when I only need to be quick, I will read at least a paragraph when I go to the bathroom!  I have been reading on the toilet since I was old enough to hold a book–and knew how to read!  If I cheat on my reading “fast” this week, it will be during a bathroom visit, I’m sure!

Julia, I sure hope your suggestions in THE ARTIST’S WAY, including and especially this whole week of Reading Deprivation work and that I will begin to see and feel results in my creative life!!!!!  I know that I am meant to do more with my writing than just write for myself, so here goes nothing at finding a way to dream and dream big!!!!  🙂

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Speaking of loving to Write…..

I keep a journal that I attempt to write in every day.  I don’t make it every single day, but this is the first year where I have written in my journal almost every day compared to previous years.  Look!!!

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Several years ago, I first picked up Julia Cameron’s book, The Writing Diet.  I ate that book up!  (See what I did there?!)  Anyway, in that book, Julia speaks of her daily writing activity she calls “Morning Pages.”  She discusses Morning Pages in greater detail in her other book, The Artist’s Way, but I first read about them in The writing Diet.  Morning Pages are nothing more than writing three full pages every single morning–freewriting.  I loved the idea, so I gave Morning Pages a shot.  More often than not, I ended up doing my “Morning” Pages in the evening rather than the morning.

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I felt guilty that I couldn’t get my writing done in the mornings.  I wanted so much to do Morning Pages just as Julia Cameron suggested.  I loved every single part of the whole idea and I wanted to be successful with it.  But I could not get up early enough to do my Morning Pages in the mornings.

Then I read Mari McCarthy’s Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul wherein one of the writers shared that she, too, struggled with writing in the mornings, so she simply starting doing “Night Notes” instead.

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Huh.  So I didn’t HAVE to do my writing in the mornings!!!  And I didn’t have to feel guilty for it!  So now I write in the evenings.  I prefer to type.  I did a few practice entries by hand so I could give myself an estimate of the total number of words I wrote in three pages (Julia’s guidelines for Morning Pages).  I found that I could write approximately 750 words in three pages, so I try to write 750 words every day in my online journal.  I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it to 750 words, mainly because there are some days when I simply do not have a lot to say, but there are other days when I write way beyond 750 words!  I wish my chain would show the days I have written more than once because I have several days when I wrote two or three entries and each entry was more than 750 words.

Currently, I have written approximately 170,000 words just in my online journal this year!!!!!  I will easily hit 200,000 words before the year is out!  Penzu (the online journal I use) sent me a message a few months ago when I first hit 100,000 words so I can have a free year of Penzu Pro next year!  So cool!  (Penzu basic is free, but if you go Pro, of course, there are many options, one of which is the ability to create several journals rather than just have one.  I have divided my by year as well as by other categories as I choose!)

If I am able to win NaNoWriMo, I will easily have at least 250,000 words for the year!  That’s a LOT of writing!!!!!  And I LOVE every last bit of it!!!!  None of the numbers I’ve shared includes any of the writing I do daily for work; I teach English at a community college!  And now I also have this blog as well as two other main ones that I keep!  (See the link at the top of the page, “Joy Regardless.”)

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I just wanna Write!

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Hi, my name is Polly and I am addict.  I am addicted to Writing.  (And reading, but this post is about writing, so we’ll get to the Reading addiction at a different time.)  I LOVE to write.  I love writing about myself.  I love writing just for the sake of writing.  I love words.  I love running words together and seeing what results from the words I put together.  I love the act of typing words on my computer.  I still love writing by hand because there is just something about the appearance of my handwriting that says more than the words on the page are able to say about my emotional state at the moment of my writing.  I don’t write by hand so much anymore, but every so often, I will still pick up a notebook and pen (usually pink) and write my little heart out.

I am in the mood to write just about ALL the time.  I would rather write than do so many other things.  I think that everything I write should be read by EVERYONE.  That is not to say that I think my writing is better (or worse) than anyone else’s; it’s simply that I love to write so very much that I want to share that love with others.  I want others to feel it as they read what I have written and get excited about their own hobby–whatever it is that they feel passionate about–and DO IT!!!  I want to share the joy I have in the simple act of writing.

I know not everyone loves to write as I do.  That’s okay.  That is as it should be.  We should all have something that we do, though, that we LOVE to do–and we should DO IT.  There is no greater drug in the world than doing what you LOVE to do, what you are passionate about.

It is not about writing THE “Great American Novel” for me.  (Don’t get me wrong, though.  If that were to happen, it would thrill my soul!)  It is not about BEING a great writer or even being recognized as a [great] writer.  Sure it would be nice if my name was as popular on the lips of readers as that of Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult’s, or even John Greene’s.  But more than being recognized as a writer, I simply LOVE TO WRITE.

Writing, for me, is the same as breathing.  I HAVE TO DO IT or die.  I love to do it.  I want to write.  I can’t wait until I come to a place in my day when/where I can sit down and just write.  It doesn’t matter what I write.  It doesn’t matter if what I write has any substance or will be read by anyone but me.  I simply want to WRITE.

I find that everything else in my life (except reading) tends to get pushed to the side and much lower on my list of priorities because Writing is THE priority for me.  I love it!  If you read what I write, thank you.  I hope something about it is enjoyable for you because I sure had fun writing it!!!

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