Getting Ready to Write
Somewhere in my writing life I realized getting ready to write preceded the actual sitting down and putting pen to paper (historical reference #1). In the early days of my writing career, it was claiming a place to write. Over the years it has been the café at Borders (historical reference #2), the library, Starbucks, various coffee shops in New Jersey, New York, and now Arizona. For the past 12 years it’s been my office or rotating among the host homes of our Eastside Writing Room writers. These days I write at home- dining room table, at my desk, or on the patio. The place is set.
Getting ready to write sometimes calls for mental ruminating, reading, talking to someone, just sitting. Some wonderful ideas have come to me while cleaning the house, or exercising, or just staring. I no longer analyze or take on the Judge’s robe. I trust those non-writing times as part of being a writer.
Want To Just a Little Bit More Than You Don’t Want To
When I do have a written list of say, ten things I want/can/need to write about, the intention can become unclear, confusing. Which to do? The part of me that forgets I am a good writer, offers an exit door and whispers, “Well, maybe you don’t need to write today.” Time to tip the scale. When I tell myself I want to write even just a little bit more than I don’t want to write, another door opens.
Early “teachers” like Natalie Goldberg, Stephen King, Sylvia Beach, and Julia Cameron inspired me. It filters down to BIC- butt in chair and write. Recently one of our Eastside Writing Room colleagues declared her intention to write 500 words a day. Easy peasy? The declaration is what helps it happen for me. Even if the first sentence is “I have nothing to write about.” Something always comes.
Bottom Line… Show Up
Think about it. When, where, or how have you showed up, not at all committed to an idea, place, or person? And something happened. Maybe even something superb. Maybe not right then, but later- that day, the next week, a year later. That showing up was a seed that grew and bore fruit. And if I delve a little deeper, there were “things” that got me ready to show up. What a concept.
My teachers are everywhere. Stop smoking like T. did. Practice yoga like A. does until I can hold that pose. Play at tai chi Like H. Commit to a healthy food plan like M. Dance like L. Paint like S. does. Write a book like C did. In the last 1 ½ years it’s been “walk, stretch every day. It’s a way to show you care about you.”
This morning I showed up to write but my list didn’t seem at all interesting, so I scrolled though some older posts. And there it was. “Intentions and Showing Up.”
I think I’ll go back and look at my list again.
What was the most recent thing you showed up for?
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she’s writing to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it, and sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling Tucson Tellers of Tales, and anywhere there’s a Zoom mic.
And we keep on showing up … for the easy and tough stuff. Life is good.