"Showing up" on a walk with our bambino
… to keep writing. I could easily spend my days vacuuming under the high chair and folding load after load of laundry. But writing friends encourage me with deadlines.
I'm in two small writing workshops, one poetry and one multi-genre. Between the two, we live in many different cities and two countries. Every week, we email each other new pieces and share some feedback on the work.
Yes, sometimes I'm very excited to share a new poem and sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to write. Sometimes, when the baby is screaming, I'm unnerved by the fact that I think I can balance three jobs: mother, teacher & writer.
Having a self-imposed deadline and feeling responsible to other writers in the group - who wants to be the weak link? - helps me to find the time to compose new work. Part of that composition might happen as I'm on a walk with the baby and the majority of it happens when I'm sitting at the computer writing.
As Hila Ratzabi, of the Red Sofa Salon, wrote about her residency at Vermont Studio Center, simply showing up to write is a major part of writing at all. "And I know people say this a lot, but you really have to show up. And showing up is brave. I totally dread approaching my work sometimes cause I think I have nothing to say or it’s not going to be great. But I surprise myself over and over."As a (still fairly new) mother, "showing up" sometimes happens at unusual times, but it still counts.
Last week I emailed into my two writing groups to say that while I didn't have anything new, I had been revising and submitting work. A writer in one of the groups had encouraged me to try Duotrope, the submissions database. I hadn't submitted anything in months and months. One week later, I've submitted about 2/3rds of the individual poems from my current manuscript. Phew!
Tomorrow is our deadline. I have a virtual stack of grading to finish and I'm teaching a memoir workshop at Politics & Prose bookstore today. I'm accountable to my students to fulfill my commitment to teaching them to the best of my ability. I'm accountable to my writing friends to keep writing.
And, most of all, I'm accountable to myself.
Back to work.