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Posts from the ‘writing’ Category

Gleanings: Writing Goals and First Things First, and balancing values

“These, then, are an artist’s goals: to work and to affirm the value of that work; to find success and make success; to play a role in the maintenance of culture and to affirm the value of that role; to find love, provide love, and affirm the value of love; and to minimize self-hatred and despair…” ~ Eric Maisel, Affirmations for Artists

Today, as most days, I followed routine. Dear heaven, I love my rut for the bit of security it gives my psyche. 8:45 am, and I reached the part in my routine when I bring the tea tray to my office–I scurry, as if any moment someone is apt to stop me with a tap on my shoulder– and sit down in front of my computer to work on a writing project. My goal is to pay attention to this work that feeds my soul, and hopefully my pocketbook, too. It is dedication to my writing craft that holds value for me.

But there are other things that hold value, too, other places where I find success, and that is in relationships. I had a letter from a cousin and I wanted to respond, and some letters from friends. When I applied the idea of first things first, communicating with family and friends came first this morning, because tonight was already spoken for. Only after I was into the communication did I realize that I was writing after all. Not on the project at the moment, but writing from my heart in the same way. And I was honoring what I value as my role in the great scheme of culture. And sometime in the future, all of what I expressed to these loved ones, all I heard from them, goes into making me who I am. All of it feeds the writer-me.

A writer writes every day. Letters count.


Gleanings: Experimenting in the Writer Life

“Experiment. Try something new. Maybe you won’t like it. Maybe you’ll make a mistake. But maybe you will like it, and maybe you’ll discover something you love.” ~ Melody Beattie, Language of Letting Go.

Monday morning, and I looked at all I had to do. I tried to jettison some things that were not truly ‘have-tos’. Couldn’t find any. In fact, I thought of a few more things that had been put off too long. I ended up taking one of those things and jumping in to do it. Nothing at all to do with writing–it was making up a nutritious mash for my spring chicks. But I enjoyed doing it, and learned that sometimes I have to vary my schedule. Doing chores, especially ones that take me outside, renews my energy.

Then it was up to the sanctuary of my office. That habit, one I found by experimenting and putting writing time and solitude time first, has been established. It keeps me going, even though today’s schedule is not about actual writing. Today my focus is on publishing and making order here and there. The writer craft has evolved, and I’m evolving with it. I’m experimenting, and I have to say that I’m enjoying a great deal of managing my own properties. I really do!

I’ve read from several books on writer craft, as is my habit on Monday. What has popped up to me is the admonition to be open to new ideas, to jettison preconceptions. Funny, but each of the writers then tells me how to do it, and from his own ideas of what he is sure is the right way.

You know what–today, this week, I am going to jettison a lot of my preconceived ideas, as well as what so-called experts put forth, and I’m going to experiment with the wisdom that comes from inside myself.

I think in doing this I will be experimenting with what makes me happy.

God bless y’all,

Gleanings: Time, Dirt, and Money, and Writing

Time, Dirt, and Money was the working title of the book writer Olive Ann Burns was working on when she died. The title came from a sentiment her mother often put forth that life came down to a struggle with three things: time, dirt, and money.  I have over the years come to see the clear truth of that statement.

This morning I was up at my usual 5:30 am, going through all my routine of tea, reading, prayer, and then, 6:30 arrives along with my 8 year old grandson, and it is as if I get shot out of a cannon. I fly around to get myself dressed, cook grandson a hot meal, clear the table, and get us out the door and off to school. “Put that Kindle down…don’t let the dog out…hurry, hurry…keep your feet off the seat.” I grip the steering wheel and sort of lean forward, because we are, as usual, running late.

We come flying up to the school. There’s no Sheriff’s deputy directing traffic, and there is no traffic at all. We must be really late! “Hurry, hurry, give me a kiss and off you go.”

He pops out, and I watch him go to the door, and in it, as I always do, because somehow I think something quite vague that amounts to the fear that someone lurking in the bushes could grab him. But in he goes, and I start to drive away, when– there’s a woman at the glass waving frantically. Good thing I watched him go in. See, I tell the one who makes fun of my fears.

“There’s no school today!” the woman calls to me.

So here I am with a small boy to mind today, and errands that must be run, and bills that have to be paid, and all of it today.

Olive Ann Burns’ life wisdom pops to mind. In just the space of an hour, I have dealt with time, dirt, and money. What I do with each, how I handle them, whether I face them or run away, it’s all up to me. (I’m leaning toward running away at this minute, with grandson having a hissy fit about ‘nothing to do’.) I think it’s helpful to know I don’t have to do any of it perfectly. In fact, accept that I won’t, and get on with it. I find it great progress to see that I carved out an hour to write.

Time, Dirt, and Money, was published as Leaving Cold Sassy, an unfinished sequel to Cold Sassy Tree after Burns’ death. Thinking of it this morning, I pulled the book off the shelf and of course had to start reading. As I read of Olive Ann Burns’ courage in facing her illness and life, I find myself grateful for the time, dirt, and money countless writers have slogged through and produced wonderful works that benefit my own slogging.

God bless your valiant slogging today.




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