The longer I’ve lived the writing life, the more I’m learning about and accepting the idea of seasons. I’ve learned the value of resting from writing and during that same time the value (and joy) of losing myself in reading books. Now that it’s one full month into a new year, a season of more regular writing has (at last!) sprouted new life.
For most (all?) of my life I’ve craved and sought control over my schedule and over anything I’m involved in. And for a good portion of my writing life, I’ve been regimented in scheduling writing. That rigidness helped me develop the discipline that I lacked as a beginning writer. That rigidness, however, has only carried me so far.
As I noted above (and in a prior post), I was in a season of rest from writing regularly. So it comes as a surprise that for the past three weeks, I’ve been writing regularly in a notebook, jotting reflections on writing, yes, but ruminating on other aspects of my day. I wouldn’t call it a journal, but I suppose it has some similarities.
It helps, I’m sure, that I’m teaching poetry writing this spring, but I taught it last spring semester as well, and I was not compelled to write poems then other than working on writing exercises with my students in class (which is no small thing). I’ve been working on poems again, having revised three poems originally drafted during my time in Lithuania in May 2018. Why are these revisions significant? I drafted three or four poems in 2019, and only revised a handful of poems.
I’ve also been revising my novel (Pallid Faith), preparing the first chapter as a submission for a summer week-long writing conference I’m hoping to attend. It’s much easier for me now to adjust the language, and to consider the audience, and to more clearly detect ways in which the first-person narrator’s language doesn’t sound authentic to the character.
What excites me the most about this new season of writing is my attitude toward writing: it is a joyful experience. The enthusiasm of earlier periods in my writing life has returned but with the benefit of added experience and increased skill. I’m writing because I want to, for the pleasure of arranging words in lines, of crafting a narrator’s voice, of reflecting on my day. And that desire, that yearning, I’ve come to accept, is reason enough to write.