I am in a unique situation. The Consultant goes to work every morning, seven days a week, at 7:00 a.m. and returns home somewhere between 5:30 and 7:00 each evening. I have no formal job and find myself in unfamiliar surroundings with a full day ahead of me to use as I wish. People who know me well understand that this is no problem for me but most want to know, whether they are bold enough to ask or not, “What do you do all day?”
I’m reconnecting the dots from my days before kids to my days after. I’ve learned that it’s not possible to start where you left off but instead you can mine for those best parts of yourself, get reacquainted and build on them. I’ve taken myself back to my late teens, early twenties, when writing was my dream. Now, I immerse myself in writing.
So, what do I do all day?
Inspiration exists but it has to find you working – Pablo Picasso
I journal. I choose a pen that feels just right in my hand and write thoughts about our unconventional life. I write about my relationships; with self and others. I write what I know for sure and attempt to understand what I don’t. I flesh out my writing priorities. I let my writing take me to new and surprising places.
Those new and surprising places have inspired no shortage of writing ideas. I have trouble deciding what I want to work on first. Heaven help me if a new idea emerges; I have too many unfinished works already. I’ve learned to go where my energy takes me. One day I sat down to write about the High Prairie Rodeo and wound up writing about the importance of legacy. Thanks to cut and paste – a new piece is born.
When I’ve worked a piece to exhaustion, I send it off to my virtual writing group. Once a month, we submit our pieces and meet via Skype for constructive critique. These women see my writing with fresh eyes and send me back to work. They push me and make me want to do better. They are my accountability partners.
I am also accountable to myself. I commit to online writing courses and to reading about the art of writing. Every book I read is approached with the intention to learn. I look at how authors use words and construct sentences. I absorb everything I can from the style of others.
And, like Ernest Hemingway suggests, I put my writing away each day to read it over again tomorrow and see whether it’s any good.
I feel good about meeting my goals. This summer, I am following through on a promise I made to myself last January to submit for publication. It is time to broaden my audience and take new risks. And don’t worry, as soon as I am published somewhere other than my blog, you’ll be the first to know.
If you’re feeling curious…
My Courses –
The Tribewriter Course by Jeff Goins
Two courses from The Great Courses Website –
Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write About Anything by Prof. Dorsey Armstrong
Writing Creative Nonfiction by Prof. Tilar J. Mazzeo
Blogs I follow –
Jeff Goins – Writer (writing and blogging)
Josh Irby (writing life and inspiration)
The Write Life (helping writers create, connect and earn. Good information for Freelancers)
A Writer’s Bucket List by DIY Writing (writing encouragement)
Rachel Gardner / Literary Agent (writing and publishing tips)
Writing Through Life (Making Sense of Life, Telling our Stories)
Reading for Knowledge and Inspiration –
On Writing by Stephen King
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
You are a Writer by Jeff Goins
10 Core Practices for Better Writing (Adventures in Writing) by Melissa Donovan
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
One Year to a Writing Life by Susan Tiberghien
Reading for Fun and Inspiration –
A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball
Almost a Great Escape by Tyler Trafford
The Widow Clicquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo
NOTE: You can find Part 2 of this post here.