WRITING AFTER A LONG SILENCE
This is a confession and a celebration. I haven’t been writing for quite a while. My silence on the page was due mainly to a book proposal which my agent loved but which none of the editors she showed it to felt would sell, along with troubles with my family-of-origin (which is a long story in itself). I was busy enough with the rest of my life, my teaching and my writing clients, that I kept quite occupied. Time never yawned wide enough for me to feel the emptiness that not writing creates. And although I knew I wasn’t feeling my best, I could attribute that to other, and legitimate, causes.
Now, for an inexplicable reason, I’ve begun writing again. Perhaps enough time has passed that the disappointment, wound actually, of not seeing my book published, has begun to heal. Perhaps I have just a bit more time on my hands, and I began to feel the emptiness of not writing. Or perhaps I was inspired by a reading I attended recently, where Pam Houston delighted the audience with her newest book (yet to be published), demonstrating to me once again how much joy writing offers both writer and reader.
In the end, I shouldn’t really be trying to ascribe an exact cause to my taking up the proverbial pen again. That’s not what writing is all about. Instead, the call to put words on the page and to allow those words to take you on a journey, leading you to a place you might never have predicted, nor understood you wanted to land, is a mystery and a grace. So let’s just say that I’m writing again, and grateful to find myself in front of my computer on a regular basis, allowing words, thoughts, ideas and feelings that reside deep within me to find their place on the page.
Because I understand how delicate the relationship between writer and her writing is, I’m starting very slowly, demanding little of myself. I don’t want to become overwhelmed, and I know how quickly this can happen. I’ll start by worrying about my writing itself, wondering if it’s good enough. If I get by this hurdle, I’ll wonder just where the writing is taking me; will it amount to publishable piece, and what kind of piece? Then there will be the B question: Do I have enough material here to constitute a book? If I do, will anyone want to publish it? Will anybody read it?
To avoid the tsunami of doubt, I’m writing now five days a week, for only one-half hour a day. That way, I don’t have time to doubt myself, to ask myself the killing questions. But I do have time to capture something on the page. And even more important, by writing on a regular basis, I am beginning to build up momentum for my writing, momentum that will help even more with quelling the voices of self doubt that are so eager to be heard. At the same time, I’m opening up that space in my day and within myself that invites writing in and allows it to blossom.