writer in progress: homesick.

It is the gift of all poets to find the commonplace astonishing. -- Margery Sharp

So it's been busy. A busy week, a busy month, a busy year so far. Busyness. Bleck. It's like the opposite of writing. Dashing about at a million miles an hour, versus letting words drip onto a page.

No surprise, then, that writing has pretty well tanked these last two months. They have been wonderful months in their way, full of family and celebrations and joy and change. But then when I sit down to work, all my brain has is a slideshow of past events, or far worse, a gently hissing static.

Which is when I start asking myself bad questions, like, Why am I writing anyway?

But last weekend I had a brilliant conversation with a good friend, and we were talking about rest. Rest. Just thinking about that word makes me want to breathe differently.

Anyway, as we talked about what recharges us, I felt my vision for June shifting. And I started asking myself, with a very different tone, So, why am I writing anyway? Why do I write? Why is this part of me, what do I love about it, what's so great about words?

So instead of whipping myself, my writing life, and my novel back into shape (my usual tactic), I decided to try a different kind of strategy. I'm putting the novel aside temporarily, and I'm going back to basics this month. As in: really basic.

Like--writing exercises. I haven't done writing exercises in an eon! I usually despise them, but all of a sudden I'm thirsty for miniature writing challenges... working my way through this lovely book and its sequel. I love Monica Wood's perspective on the whole writing life: she is so cheerful and sound.

Also, I'm getting reacquainted with journaling. How did I let journaling go, for pete's sake? No idea, but somehow it turned into a burden, when I felt obligated to do it.

Not anymore. I've been sitting by the window, letting myself ramble across the pages, talking about anything, anything, anything. Just writing for the bliss of solitude. Putting one word after the next for the sheer joy of it. Such a luxury, really. And if I'm writing about the view out my window as the sun sets, and if I'm sipping a glass of wine, well, so much the better.

And then reading. Oof. I've so let my reading life slide, and it's horrible! How can you write novels when you forget the intoxicating feeling of being swept away in someone else's world? Encountering their characters, and being encountered in return?

I'm firmly convinced of reading's importance in a writing life, and yet it's so hard to make time for it. It feels too much like relaxing, like something I should just wedge into my day at the very end... not anymore. I'm giving myself acres of time to just sit and devour novels.

So that's June. And I'm giddy about it. ... Can ya blame me?

Because I do love writing. So very much. I've missed these basics, and it's good to come back to them, good to come home.


  1. Speaking of writing, and of reading...Food loves writing. Have you seen this bit of internet loveliness?

    Just a glimpse: Here's what to expect:
    Essays about food and about everything else—like a post about green beans that’s also about relationships, or a recipe for pistachio soup that’s really about celebrating moments. Recipes are made with whole, natural ingredients, from buckwheat ginger cookies to baked tilapia to meatloaf that will change your world.

  2. You're right, this is right up my alley!! Thanks for the recommendation!