Learning to Write (again)

It’s been quiet over here on plainswriter.com since the start of 2017. It’s been quiet at home on my writing desk. It’s been quiet in my writing life. But I’m learning to write again.

I don’t mean, of course, that I’ve forgotten how to write. I do mean, however, that I am learning to want to write. I am trying to recover one of my first loves.

The span in which I haven’t so much as done anything with creative writing (be it a poem, a line or two in my notebook, much less a new blog post) reached about nearly a month. In that time, I wondered if I had, in fact, forgotten how to write in lines. I wondered if I could cultivate the dry soil that made up my writing life.

Attending the annual AWP Conference in D.C. was a helpful nudge, as was  The Windhover Writers’ Festival that I direct at my university. But a backlog of student grading, combined with at least three different colds in a two-week span (which also meant zero running), did not help my writing prospects in any way.

Last week though I began writing in a notebook, an action that, simple as it was, felt almost miraculous. I tried to write every day, but I didn’t. In past seasons of my writing life, I would feel guilt, feel “failure” if I didn’t follow through on a goal. I’ve learned that when I’m trying to regain writing motivation and momentum, I can’t waste time being self-critical.

So what’s on the horizon? Other than this blog post, I have a poetry manuscript waiting for me. I have a memoir first draft waiting for me, too. I hope to return to blogging more regularly as well.

In this season, I’m trusting the process of writing. I’m trusting in the same truths that I preach to my students: writing breeds more writing, and the more you write, the more ideas you’ll gather.


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