The Writerly Habit

This blog is about my struggles to get into the habit of writing regularly.

Hooray for Spring Break!

Spring Break is finally here. That means only six weeks left of this insane course load. It's my fault, I signed up for four English classes. I'm taking a couple of classes this summer but they are short and involve either trips around the Southwest or creative writing. Huzzah.

I'm also being published in riverrun, the UCCS arts journal, and Poetry While You Wait (PWYW). PWYW is a project of the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate. The collection of poems are printed in a journal, and on plaques, and are placed anywhere in town where people wait. This, of course, is also in Colorado Springs.

In conjunction with PWYW, our local National Public Radio station KRCC is going to be broadcasting a poem a day from the book. I've already been down to record. There will also be a public reading of the book in early April. I'll keep you posted on the dates, just in case you're in Colorado Springs

So exciting news, I thought this would definitely light a fire under my ass to write more. Nope. Not a word. I haven't worked on anything but homework. I guess that goes back to what I talked about before: going for internal validation and not external. External validation is great, for a minute. Then reality sets back in and all your worries are back. So how do you build internal validation? I'm not sure that I can answer that clearly. I am confident in my work and know it is publishable, yet that doesn't translate into producing work.

I was talking about this with my therapist the other day and she asked me what writing would look like for me if it were a job. I said that I wanted to write for four hours or so a day, to have a dedicated time and a set routine. I then said that I didn't know why I couldn't do that now (for a lesser amount of time of course). She said "because it's not your job yet." Hmmm...that's interesting. It is true, if I were getting paid and writing was my main focus, then I would be more motivated to write. It seems to me though, you have to slog your way through writing while it isn't your job, in order to get to a place where it is. Random House isn't going to show up at my door with a book deal if I haven't published squat. Although I did have a weird dream involving William Shatner last night. Not the Captain Kirk Shatner, more like the Boston Legal Shatner. have to be willing to do the work before it's your job. So what is stopping me/us?

I don't know, the mind is a tricky thing. One problem I have is not giving myself enough credit for the work I am doing. I am carrying a fifteen credit hour semester and still finding time to send out a couple of submissions. That should be great on its own. If you are like me, you have this drive to keep pushing yourself and no matter what, it isn't good enough. You aren't good enough. That's probably a good time to seek professional counseling as I've been doing. It's only been a few weeks, but I am already seeing some progress. It's hard to recognize irrational thought processes. If any of this fits you, maybe read Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Livesand go from there. I know I've recommended it before but there is a phenomenal chapter on writing the wounded psyche.

Margaret Randall

I was fortunate enough to attend a poetry reading at UCCS last night in honor of International Women's Day. The presenting poet was Margaret Randall. Prior to the event, I had never heard of her. Her poetry is very powerful, full of myth and strong images of the desert. She tackles issues like immigration, male right, cultural dominance and rape. I'm not going to go on, you can pick up one of her books if you'd like to read her for yourself. She also has tour information on her website.