Today I am sick, I have the flu. I actually have had the flu for a few days now and have been bed ridden. The only thing I did yesterday was post a Monday blog to the writers group I am part of on Facebook. I didn’t want to miss the posting and it is my commitment to share more and more. Being sick gives you time to really be with yourself. Today, I feel better and have more energy to move around and have clear thoughts, the creativity has been waiting painterly and now wants to play. So, I am giving it some time because I wan to play as well. And play for me is playing with words.
As I’ve been going back to the writing reference books I’ve been gathering for most of my life, I thought I would go back to the beginning. What was the very first book I bought to start my collection? The one I know that has been in the box every time I’ve moved is ‘Starting from scratch’ by Rita Mae Brown – I was still living in Halifax, Nova Scotia and I was going to Saint Mary’s University, I think I went to go see a guy I was dating but he wasn’t working, and without the technology of texting yet, I went on my merry way to one of my favorite book stores on Spring Garden Road to just browse around, I loved being around books. The shop owner knew me well, I bought enough books to gain me browsing right from time to time. That day, I walked out with Rita’s book because of the lat line from the introduction:
Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
Hello! I was trusting my creativity then and continue to do so. What is interesting to me now, ‘and never hope more tan you work’ that is a pretty deep statement, never hope more than you work – when I am working, meaning writing and being with creativity I am so happy, filled with joy. When I am not writing I am lost in some way. I don’t hope for more than my work because I am the only one who can work at writing, I am the only one who can sit down and write these words down, no one else. Writing means work, and to me it’s no work at all. It’s who I am, I’ve always known I’ve been a writer, like Rita Mae Brown, it never occurred to me to be anything else. I find it fascinating to know there are so many writers who feel the same way – that is some kind of magic.
Much of what I have to tell you about your body is common sense. You need to eat properly and get enough sleep. If you’re working at an outside job to support yourself while writing, something’s got to give. Don’t let it be sleep. Give up your social life. If you aren’t prepared to put your writing first, you aren’t really a writer. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to organize your priorities.
This was another paragraph that reached out at me by the collar and I could hear Rita saying “wake up Marion Ann, this is how you’re going to start being a writer.” I was hooked, but I was also second year in university and part of the social committee for freshmen, so I was living a double life. I was burning the candle at both ends and even thought I was twenty I thought I could handle it, but guess what, the writer couldn’t handle it, the creativity suffered as I went out almost every second night to keep up my social commitments. I wasn’t prepared to be a real writer. But that part of me who wanted to write wasn’t giving up, she was on the side lines cheering away at me, and I was listening, just not full heartily. Until I read one more slap in the face, are you listening sentence:
Never let anyone or any social attitude stand in the way of your productivity.
Enough said. I slowly started to rein-back on the social activities at school and started to get myself organized. I pulled out stories I wrote in high-school and started to really pay attention to the ideas that came to me. I started to write more, I wrote more poetry which served a purpose for me. Two of my poems were accepted into a small anthology in university, something was changing, my priorities were showing results. I was paying attention to my writing and it was paying attention to me. Rita, Julia, Stephen and Julia were all right, writing makes me happy – I just needed to do a little organizing and make writing a priority. I still do and strive to make it more and more my priority. Sometimes I will say ‘baby steps’ one word at time.
Until next time, keep on typing….