I did a double-take when I saw the date on my last blog post. I had no idea it had been that long since last I sat down to add to my website. I take solace, though, in understanding that I have actually been writing regularly during this time of isolation.
And, I have learned a few things since this Corona crap all startedl, or maybe I've just put in practice some things I always knew about writing. Here's what I've done that's helped me (and my family) get through it all:
1. I have made it a point to attend (via Zoom) my local library writing group as religiously as possible. It's a weekly 90-minute session with prompts, writing, and sharing. Never have I appreciated this contact with other writers more. The group is very diverse, with all ages, colors, flavors, and circumstances. They are my spirit animals.The group is called "Write Like You Mean It." How good is that?
2. Because I am creating new work (essay starts, ditherings, poems) at least once a week via #1, I find I have many things to actually work on the rest of the week between sessions. I scribble in a notebook during WLYMI and later type things into Word documents. Lo and behold, I have many pages of interesting stuff to ponder, rewrite, renew, and sometimes toss.
3. I have gotten back together (also via Zoom) with my two writer buddies from my old town. We share what we're working on, make helpful suggestions to one another, and act as a writing support group. Triumphs and defeats are regularly shared, and we are accountable to one another for having something to bring to the table each meeting - which is every 2-3 weeks right now.
4. Because of #3 above, I am actually submitting things. I can bring final drafts to our meetings just prior to deadlines. I find this holds me accountable to myself for ACTUALLY SENDING THINGS OUT into the world.
5. I joined the NC Poetry Society and am thinking seriously about applying for fellowships and/or residencies to work on a chapbook length book. One of the benefits of joining, by the way, is critiques of work in progress. I got my first one back yesterday and it was tremendously thoughtful and helpful. Honestly, I was blown away with the quality of the comments, which is incredibly encouraging.
6. I haven't graduated to the "write every day" routine just yet, but I'm doing very well working some several times each week. Managable expectations have been the key. Like everyone, I'm having trouble sustaining focus and many times I find myself wandering away from the writing. When this happens, I just say F-it and go ahead and watch an old movie or pick up a book - I don't worry about having done so. All of this will pass.
7. I have sent emails to writer friends/acquaintances that were excruitiatingly honest and vulnerable about things I was working on. I mean, I really just laid it all out there, really taking chances with how I was feeling. It felt scary but good. Of course, the responses were lovely and supportive -- and commiseratingly helpful to the receipients, too.
Hang in there everyone. Now that I've written this blog, I'm going to take a shower and watch something stupid on TV.