30 WYA Challenge: The 1 Thing I Didn’t Do Taught Me the Most

Photo found on Pinterest via travimp.com.

Photo found on Pinterest via travimp.com.

I recently participated in the 30-Day Write Yourself Alive Challenge with Andrea Balt and Tyler Knott Gregson. I connected with so many amazing writers from around the globe. I connected with my words, my stories, my Self.

I showed up, I did the prompts, I put my words out there.

The one thing I didn’t do was show up everyday.

The one thing I didn’t do was give my writing top priority over everything else: yoga, meditation, dirty dishes, laundry, TV, internet.

Some days I didn’t write at all. Other days I wrote pages and pages, catching up by doing five, six or seven prompts in one sitting. And that was great—riding that energy that had built up over days, feeling those words simmering just below the surface of my skin, aching to find a way out. It’s fun to surf that wave of creative energy.

It’s fun but it’s not sustainable.

It’s fun but it is not dependable.

What is dependable is structure, routine, consistency.

Not fun words, are they?

But it is what I need. What my creative process needs. I’d rather sit down every day, not knowing what comes next, not knowing if I will eek out a few meager sentences or if pages will spill out of my pen than wait for the words to build up until they can’t be contained anymore.

So, for the next 7 days I am committing to show up each day. To work on my current WIP each and every day for seven days. To build up that muscle of dedication and consistency.

To have fun within the structure of discipline.

How about you? Are you an every day writer or does more sporadic work for you? I love hearing about your process. Please share.

She Shows Up.

Image found on Pinterest via Free People Blog.

Image found on Pinterest via Free People Blog.

The snow slants to the frozen earth outside her window.

A wind comes and disrupts the precision with which the snow descends, scattering those individual particles of frozen atmospheric water vapor frozen awry, off the path.

Her path is on the snowy white of the paper beneath her hand. Or the glaring white of the screen on her desktop. Both waiting to be filled with the “breathings of her heart.”

They don’t care about the quality of the words, of the sentences, of the stories. They only wait for the presence of the words, sentences and stories she needs to tell in any given moment.

Sitting at her desk, her dog curled up behind her, the silence broken only by the soft hum of the space heater at her feet, she writes.

She claims this time as her own.

Claims the space as her own.

The space around her.

The space within her.

She claims the page.

The words.

She claims it all.

But mostly she claims herself as a writer.

And don’t ask if you can buy her books on amazon or find them in the library as if having her words bound and packaged and marketed for human consumption is the only proof available to back up such an audacious claim.

That kind of question diminishes her path.

Diminishes her claim.

And she won’t be diminished.

Each time she shows up to the page, she stakes her claim on this path of writing.

Of language.

Of stories.

The path is slanted like the snow outside her window.

It is easily blown off course.

It is filled with mud

And much

And potholes

And vast swaths of desert

And frozen tundra.

But she shows up.

Not for the so-called validation of having a book published but

because she must.

If she doesn’t show up

to the page,

she doesn’t show up

to her

Self.

This was written in response to Day 11 of the #WriteYourselfAlive challenge.

Eulogy from my Inner Critic

Photo: Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr

Photo: Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr

I just started the 30 Day Write Yourself Alive Challenge with Tyler Knott GregsonAndréa Balt. It’s only Day 1 but I can tell it’s going to be all kinds of amazing.

Today I’m sharing the answer to the 17th question from an interview with my creative self.

Say I have died and my Inner Critic stays behind to write a goodbye note in the third person that commemorates my work. What would make me Rest In Peace?

She followed the hungry beating heart of language and stories and words sewn together with blood and tears and joy, never giving up. Always showing up. She spilled both her light and dark onto the page regardless of what anyone thought. For her it was all about the process—the process of showing up, diving deep, swimming out to the deep end not knowing what came next and not caring. She believed in the alchemy of writing—that seemingly magical process of finding, discovering, unearthing the right words at the right moment that could crack her world open, allowing a little more space around the thump thump thumping of her own little heart, connecting her with the awesome heart of the Universe.