From Where I Sit – If You Want to Write

With a few weeks of plus temperatures and disappearing snow some of us suspect spring is playing a shell game. Long-term Albertans know there is at least one more blizzard in our future. If it doesn’t happen in March we’ll probably get walloped in May.

But here’s my modus operandi this time. Instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’m enjoying this. The gravel road bordering our farm is bare and dry. The sun is shining, the wind is light?perfect conditions for walking. I’ve been out there working a two-pronged approach. I set out hoping to ease the kinks out of my winter body and the murky thinking out of my mind. Frankly, some days the strategy works better than others. If I come home winded, with rosy cheeks and a great first line for a piece of writing, I call it a success.

The spring-is-here effect is spilling over into other areas of life. It’s motivated me to tackle some office clutter. A skeptic may say this is a thinly disguised attempt at avoiding any ?real? office work within those walls. A skeptic may have a point. But experts insist that a disorganized, cluttered area stifles rather than stimulates output.

Here’s my story and I’m sticking with it. By purging papers, magazines, and clippings I no longer need, I am maximizing my work space. For years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with keeping a journal. I pick out a beautiful and/or functional journal and begin with a dated first entry. The book may have a theme like the one I started on a silent retreat or it may just be another attempt at what Julia Cameron calls morning pages; three pages of longhand writing done first thing every morning.

Jim Rohn, success guru, talks about buying expensive blank books as a challenge to himself to find something important to write. Tony Robbins says a life worth living is a life worth recording. Many successful authors use notebooks to capture snippets of dialogue or character descriptions or ideas for the next great novel. My intentions are good but my approach has been hit-and-miss.

In the last few days I’ve begun the revealing process of finding and typing years worth of disparate bits of writing in countless books, scribblers, and on scraps of paper. This journey back in time has been great for my iffy memory. Free-fall writing and writing to prompts coaxed feelings and thoughts out of me I forgot I had. Some of the writing is good. Some of it is seedling-like in that it needs nurturing. Some of it may grow up to find its place in more public writing.

Perhaps best of all is the motivation to keep on going. Use prompts more often because of the results they produce. Be meticulous about attaching dates. Take the time to explain what I’m saying. Do the slovenly, reckless daily journal writing that Brenda Ueland (If You Want to Write) recommends because it yields ?vitality, brilliance, beauty.? That’s good advice, from where I sit.

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