Friday, December 18, 2015

Writing Isn't Playing Hooky

Giacometti and Calder at the National Gallery of Art

Writing isn't playing hooky from your job, family or endless chores. And that can be hard to remember, especially on a writing day that feels so delicious.

The other day, I had a meeting close to the Mall and spent the afternoon wandering in art museums and writing tentative lines in a notebook. I felt like I was cheating. Other people on the street were rushing in uncomfortable heels while I wrote before art.

That afternoon was just the jolt I needed to return home to edit, revise, cut and otherwise strengthen old poems while drafting new ones. We easily get stuck in writing and life ruts. Seeing something new or looking closely at something old in a new way can be just the muse we need.

Of course, writing is work. It takes concentration and careful study of published work and your own work as you craft your voice, form, words and ideas. Always remember why we write: to understand and experience the joy of that understanding. It doesn't always come and sometimes it need to be more than gently pushed, but it can happen.

In 2016, I hope to spend at least four quiet afternoons looking and thinking. What do you do to nudge yourself back to and further along in your writing? How do you return to that writing joy?