Some days I don’t know why I write at all. That’s the trick of daily writing (or daily anything-that’s-challenging): you skip the “why” and you take the action, you show up, you write the words. You understand the time it takes for a thing to take root, deep in the earth, a tangle of spidery threads reaching toward water. You feel yourself growing both downward and upward, part of you anchored in the dark, the other part rising toward the light. It takes time and concentrated effort. In the end, maybe you are just a tree. Except I never use “just” when speaking of trees.
November is full of terrific writing energy. I’ve discovered my Flash Nano practice falls under #NaNoRebels, which feels about right. Rachel is practicing the real-deal 50K-word NaNoWriMo. And Tara Borin is participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I’m working from daily prompts from Nancy Stohlman and Meg Pokrass. I like the option of choosing between two prompts, whichever gets the pen moving first. As I near the end of my year-long daily writing journey, the energy bump of camaraderie feels great. I encourage everyone to give it a try, regardless of whether you consider yourself a “writer.” The discoveries are likely to surprise you.
Write. Write all the time, even when it is not a project for publication. Write badly. Write just because. Don’t listen to advice from strangers. They are all strangers. Know yourself. Know your work. Know your characters. Listen only to the invisible people in the room. Don’t try to sound smart. Prove nothing to nobody. Make some friends – real friends who are willing to listen to your fears, (although you will not be calling it fear at the time) without judgement. Have friends who can hold up a mirror to show you just how fierce you really are. Grow fangs and claws and wear your heart on your sleeve. Dumb down so that everything is new. Be an expert in nothing. Always begin. Appreciate tree frogs, and rescue them when they get caught between the shutters and the wall. Take walks in the dark. Give money away. Let your stories breathe without publication. Let them breathe with publication. Love senselessly and enthusiastically. Write down everything that crazy fucker at the laundromat said to you. Describe hands. Watch bracelets jangle down wrists as wine glasses are hoisted. Look into people’s eyes. Don’t look into people’s eyes. Visit with snails. Visit the dead. Stand with one hand on the tombstone of the infant daughter and the other on the tombstone of her parents and feel the current. Turn off the TV. Don’t listen to the news. Pay your bills. Live cheap. Work a job that has nothing to do with art. Drive a car with a lot of bumper stickers on it that contradict each other. Have an identity crisis. Quit and start again.
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