Monday, August 11, 2008

Not writing.

Well, I’m not. I mean, I DID make the deadline for revising my poem for Irreantum (whew!), but other than that I’ve done a Fat Lot of Nothing. And I feel just fine about that.

After my breakup with my novel, I guess I’m just taking a general break. Part of it, though, is a result of reading The Artist’s Way, by Julie Cameron. I’m going to report on this book more later, but what I’ll tell about now is her suggestion that we take a week off of reading. (What? Yes, you heard me.) Her point is that some of us (not mentioning any names) use reading like a drug, filling up all of our empty moments with words so that we are not hearing our true selves and our own thoughts much.


So she suggests we stop reading for a week. I haven’t done that, but I’m considering it. I’m also considering taking a LONG break from writing, for the same reason: to be able to hear more clearly my true self, to learn what I want to be doing and how and why. I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to produce, especially since I have now reached the time of life when I had planned to Get Serious about writing. And it has become like a job, something I dread, something I’m in a hurry to do and to see results from. I’m not playing anymore, and so I have squelched my creativity and lost the joy.

I plan to get it back. I have faith that it will come back. I’ve never been able to quit writing for long. I believe God wants me to be writing and approves of my joy in it. I just need to get back to that faithful place where I accept it, relish it, enjoy it without expecting anything to come of it (agents, contracts, fame and fortune). I like me better when I don’t care so much whether my stuff is getting approval. So I’m taking a break to get all that gunk out of my system. I’ll start again fresh sometime.


Michelle said...

No reading at all? No books, newspapers, magazines, blogs? Oh my. Isn't that like not breathing?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing and NOT writing. You know I appreciate it.

Th. said...


I think that's a good idea. Although doing it always makes me glance nervously at my mortality's expiration date.

Laura said...

I have a hard time not reading. I'm sort an ambient reader. If there are letters anywhere in a room I'm reading them . . .but I know that when I take a break I find other way to fill the time (usually watching movies, scrapbooking, or baking). I've also done the stop-writing-for-awhile thing. I actually like it. It give you a chance to think and forget. That way when you go back to work you do have fresh eyes. Things just clear up. Maybe that's why so many of the best writers weren't writers at all (I'm mostly thinking of William Carlos Williams, but I know there are others). They were just people who were really good at something else and had to tell you about it. Good luck! I'm sure you'll get back to it when the time is right.

Anonymous said...

That's probably wise -- there's nothing worse than a rebound novel.

(Spoken as someone who thinks of myself as a writer but has nada to show for it.)

Melinda said...

I can't imagine not reading. I must be addicted. Okay, I know I'm addicted. (Admitting it is the first step.)

I like the idea of taking a break and finding yourself. That makes a lot of sense.