Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Percolating Idea-Why I Write

Have you heard the phrase learning is messy?
How about changing that to writing is messy?

In three days, NCTE will celebrate the National Day On Writing. Based on a conversation with Laura Robb, I have been writing daily as part of my practice. What is writing? Is it a paper full of scribbled thoughts waiting to find a home? Is it my cluttered mind urging me to release my thoughts?

Despite the clutter that surrounds me, writing is my escape. It is where I dig deep, think on a different level, find a sweet spot to mine, and then excavate to uncover a golden idea. Are there bumps along the way, missteps? Of course! BUT for me, as a lifelong learner, writing is where I discover myself.


When did writing become a passion?
I started writing in a simple, marble notebook as a child. A chapter book emerged based on a favorite novel, The Bobbsey Twins. Little did I know in those childhood days that I was using mentor text as a model for my own writing. As I grew older, scattered thoughts were written in my diaries and scrapbooks. Continued writing led to high school literacy magazine submissions and the Mademoiselle Magazine contest winner. College life brought me closer to a dream: a Master's degree in creative writing. But as journeys go, life had another path. Even without that degree, writing has always been a part of my journey.



When I moved from an unconnected state to the connected world of social media, writing became my platform for change. Now, in my "unretirement years", writing surfaces in the form of blogging, poetry, and the creation of global galleries of artistic expressions.

Where do I write?
I have a sanctuary for writing, a guest room with a Victorian table desk but I seem to gravitate to my office where I am writing now. There are cluttered papers strewn across this desk, scraps of thoughts, start up ideas, and crumpled notes waiting for me to organize. A few piles have turned into little mounds begging for hands to thin them out. Despite the clutter, ideas surface and percolate. Sometimes, these ideas turn into the start of poem or a blog post. Sometimes, they start as wonderings but never brew. Other times, ideas just lay in piles. Creative messiness works for me now but I still want to find the bottom of my desk.

Why do I write?
Ideas need space to breathe, to circulate, and find a landing pad. I write to release them. Understanding that voice matters, I hope to spread the joy of positivity, professional and personal wonder, and the power of written word in a connected world. I write to meet this goal but sometimes, I spend hours trying to make a thought pop, or flow in the right direction. When that doesn't happen, tension builds and a pause button is needed to free my mind so I can go back to a writing state of mind.

My simple hack to release tension when writing does not gel:
I step away from writing when word weaving and flow are not happening. I recall one day deciding that it was time to step away from my writing world so I went to a restorative yoga class. Sitting in the stillness with all lights out allowed me time to pause, declutter my mind in a minimalist space, and be drawn into the moment. Being one with self was an awakening, a self-care step that reduced anxiety and decluttered my mind. With that fresh perspective, the trip back to the writing desk was filled with hope.

Step Back
Reflect When Writing Appears to be a Desert
Engage in Another Creative Activity
Feel Refreshed
Step Forward Into a Writerly Life

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Final Thoughts:
Last night, the house was quiet. I sat at my desk writing a draft of this post. My thoughts of childhood brought back memories when journal writing was the start of something, a pathway. I tucked those memories and scraps of ideas into a virtual pile to be sorted in the morning. With a feeling of hope, I fell asleep thinking that writing is a great antidote for the ills of life.

While each time I write I don't anticipate an "aha" moment, I do expect being in the zone, the place where passion meets creation. I recognize that writing is a messy process and the journey long. Knowing there is a sliver of an idea that might be the start of something promising, keeps the flame of writing burning strong for me.

Tonight, I return to my writing because word weaving is my passion and revision a step closer to making the following quote from the Greek philosopher, Epictetus a reality.


If you wish to be a writer, write.
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I am offering this post to three writing communities:

Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday
#TeachWrite for their monthly theme, Why I Write
National Day On Writing at the NCTE site