Sunday, May 10, 2015

Two steps forward, one step back

Sometimes writing can feel as if I’m making headway one day, only to find myself retreating the next.

Two steps forward, one step back.

It’s as if I’m swimming effortlessly through the water and then unexpectedly hit a strong current, and everything changes.

My pace slows, my arms feel fatigued, my legs weaken, and I fear sinking to the bottom.

And then, just as suddenly, the current changes, and I’m no longer adrift but swimming effortlessly through the water again.

This process occurs over and over, and the longer that I spend writing, the more familiar it becomes so that I no longer become discouraged by changes in the pace of my writing.

If the process requires that I slow down, I slow down… and view the world that I’m immersed in from a different perspective.

If the process requires that I speed up, I speed up… and enjoy a different way of relating to the work.

The key to writing over the long haul, I’ve discovered, is to understand its rhythms, which means understanding my own rhythms and how I work best.

If I’m feeling overwhelmed by rejections, I might stop sending out manuscripts and return to writing for the pleasure that writing brings.

If I feel stuck or lack the passion that I feel I need to go on, I might spend more time reading, or daydreaming, or just staring at the waves as they return to shore.

Words find their way onto the paper in a variety of ways—there is no one “right” way to write—and sometimes the words come at the most unexpected times.

The trick is to be ready.

To have my pen and a pad of paper nearby.

To keep my antennae attuned to the voices in my head.

To be willing to write whenever I feel the vibration in my heart inviting me to put that feeling, that thought, into words.

And, most of all, to be patient, and to have faith that words will come.

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