Starting a new blog is akin to priming a pump – lots of false starts before you can get anything of substance to trickle out, let alone work up to a gusher. However, since this has been a long time coming, I am willing to persevere because this blog has one thing about it that is important to me. It will keep me writing. Even on days when it is the last thing I want to do, it will keep me doing it. That in itself makes it worthwhile. The other thing is that it will have readers, even if in the beginning the only readers are my friends and family. I need to work out the glitches, like how do I attach a photo to my blog, and what direction do I want my blog to take? Will I write about life, or about writing, or about camping, hiking, exploring? Will I write about being a woman, or being a woman of a certain age, or relationships, or about the Hairy Woodpecker? These are all things I will have to sort out as I go along, and perhaps the blog will choose its own direction. I guess we’ll have to watch, wait and see.
So for today, I am going to ramble, because that’s what I need to do to fill these empty spaces and accomplish my goal of writing something today. I wrote a novel in November – 50,000 words in 30 days. The first rough draft. Emphasis on rough. <grin> I worked at it tirelessly, faithfully, and finished 5 days before the deadline. I was most impressed with my stamina, but I was absolutely sick of writing it. I chose a subject that was intensely personal, painful, raw. Not a good idea. I would not recommend it for your first novel. It hurt too much to go at it every day. Much better I had chosen something apart from myself, as if writing is ever apart from oneself. You know it’s not. I know it’s not. Anyway, once I finished it, I decided that I would put it aside for the month of December, and not look at it til after the new year – in January some time. I figured that by then I could begin the difficult task of editing. January came and went. February is in danger of doing the same thing, and I have not opened the file. I have not gone back and re-read any of it. I let it sit there to rot, terrified to look inside. I am not sure I am ready to immerse myself in so many chapters, so many paragraphs, ideas, and words. So many feelings. Well actually I am sure. I’m sure I’m not ready! So I have taken flight with new writing projects, promised myself that this is the year I become part of a writers’ critique group to improve my writing, to connect with other writers. Come out of my writer’s hermitage. It will be the year that I go to more writers’ workshops, more poetry readings, enter more contests, submit more articles, edit more short stories, and sell more pieces. To more magazines. For more money. For more personal satisfaction.
And that brings me to the point of what this is all about, because I think I just figured it out. It’s about giving up the safety cushion of waiting for the right moment to do what I love. I have always loved to write. From a very small child, I needed to write. My deepest personal satisfaction has come from writing. Always. Over the years I have had a substantial amount of work published, cashed some pretty nice cheques from time to time, all the while living the rest of my life. But I kept waiting for that one day when the flurry of raising children, paying bills, and holding down a high demand, high stress job were past me, for when I no longer needed to care for an ailing and needy spouse. For that magical day when I could just do what I love to do – write. Lo and behold that day is here. it is so here! And where I am I? Still sitting on the fence, running excuses through my head…. I have no recent published clips, I am not as good as this writer or that one, no one will take me seriously because I am not as accomplished as I should be for my age, what can I say that everyone else hasn’t already said (only better than I could)? And sitting on this fence is a pain in the ass. Seriously! Over the years I dreamed of a space in my life like this one, where I could write and think and research and study and market my works. I dreamed of enough time to write a novel, and I actually did it! And then I put it on the back shelf and buried it there so I didn’t have to face it, deal with it, edit it, make it presentable enough to share with the world.
I need to start kicking some serious writing butt. And the only way for me to do that I think is to find doable, smaller projects that I can sink my teeth into. I need to see my name in print again. I need to see my new name, ‘Knox’ in print. I need to bring out all that I have to give. Yesterday I was in a bookstore, actually two wonderful, kick-ass bookstores – Borders, and Barnes & Noble. I am still a champion of the smaller, independent bookstore, but hey, being in one of those super-bookstores is like dying and waking up in literary heaven! And I had a gift certificate to spend – one that was given to me by my Love for Valentine’s Day. I had been hoarding it, not ready yet to relinquish the delicious, rich, secretly decadent feeling of having it in my possession. But yesterday I was ready to actually part with it, to trade it for the precious words of writers, people like me, but those who took the effort to put it out there and share with the world. I perused some 25 books or more before it was narrowed down to 6 that came home with me. The perusing was as sumptuous as the purchasing. I ended up using my gift card and spending $20 more on top of that. And that was just at the first bookstore. Then at the next, three trade magazines, and a luscious hardcover book of wild nature photography coupled with classic poetry came home with me too. I spent many hours yesterday revelling in the magic of the written word, and it reminded me that no matter how many hundreds of thousands of titles the book stores house, there is still room for one more article, one more short story, one more blog, one more book. Mine. And that my own humble voice has a place with the voices of all the others. And that it is my responsibility and privilege to share it.
So this blog is the beginning of me getting off my ass, off my excuses, off the fence, and writing, dammit.