I’ve decided to dust off this old thing and start blogging about my writing process again. The timing reflects the fact that I’ve begun to write more seriously again. After a big life change a few years ago, I almost completely stopped writing, other than National Novel Writing Month in November, of course.
I realize now it was important that I took a break. I’ve really come a long way in my own personal healing, and I see that healing and integration reflected in my writing now. My biggest project, my childhood memoir, has turned from being what people call a “trauma memoir” to what I hope will be a healing memoir. It’s a very slow process, especially since my old tendency was to work intensely for a couple of months, and then abandon my writing when I started feeling overwhelmed emotionally and physically.
I repeated this pattern when I started writing more regularly two years ago; I made a commitment to myself to finish a full first-draft by the end of 2014, and then soon after that stopped writing altogether. I realize now I scared myself, and that my old all-or-nothing approach does not serve me. I need to prioritize my mental, emotional, and physical health throughout this process, including being patient with and working through my fears. Just like the story of the tortoise and the hare, I realize now that if I move slowly, with breaks integrated here and there, I will accomplish more and move much further than a hare who may move fast but then needs frequent and long breaks in order to recover.
Starting fall 2014 (since, for me, the ‘writing year’ starts with the preparations for NaNoWriMo in September), I have made a concerted effort to move away from this all-or-nothing thinking, by exercising a lot of patience and giving myself permission to stop where necessary. I’m happy to report that I have succeeded, and now write and edit more regularly. I’ve met a lot of new writers around the area, and am now a part of two critique groups. The deadlines are helpful in getting me writing, and (usually) the feedback is useful and motivating.
But I’ve realized I need to make some big decisions. If I really want to get this published (which I do) rather than keep it as a personal project of catharsis (which it is, in part), I have to think more about some issues that I had put aside a few years ago in order to keep writing, such as thinking about how I will deal with family fallout if and when it happens (a big fear of mine!). I’m also realizing that some of my current supports and methods which had been working for me no longer fit, and I need to think of some new approaches.
All things that would be helpful for me to write out on this blog in more detail, for my own personal processing as well as in the hopes of seeking out thoughts and support from interested others.
So, consider the dust bunnies cleaned out. Stay tuned for more updates soon!
Originally published on June 2, 2015