Sometimes I get into such a good writing rhythm. Day after day, I go to my writing desk, the words and pages flow, and I get that draft done.
Oh, the good old days.
In more recent days, I’ve felt like two of the middle Von Trapp sisters in the Sound of Music, gracefully running away from my work in progress. I flit. I float. I fleetly flee. I fly. So long, farewell, novel. I simply have to get away from you and go to bed.
But I want to finish that novel, and I will finish it, and in order to do that, I have to keep coming back to the point. A reminder I got when a week ago, my little sister came to visit.
Before she arrived, I had been having one of those weeks, well maybe one of those months. Illness, angst, squabbles, facing hard truths, relationship muck, feeling stuck and off-kilter. Basically, I lost my joy. Who else is glad January is over?
The good news is that my sister’s visit got me unstuck and on-kilter again.
Although we’re different women who have taken our lives in different directions, I love the ways we connect and intersect, how I can laugh harder and deeper with her than many people in my life, and how she reminds me of where I come from.
This made me think of stories, and how when we get off track, we need precisely that kind of reminder. How that reminder can balance us when we float up into distraction as well as when we plunge into the dirt and get stuck.
Conveniently enough, during her visit, my sister and I rode a seesaw.
I love this picture of us seesawing after a winter picnic in the park, especially that the sun seems to be giving me an extra magic light-jolt. Who couldn’t use one of those?
Of course, like most people, I don’t always want to be reminded of earlier versions of myself—the awkwardness, the righteous indignation, the fear, the overcompensating. Often, we deliberately choose to come from somewhere other than those less-than-awesome places we started. That’s a good thing. It’s called growing up.
At the same time, remembering where we come from, at the deepest level, can be so edifying. With my sister, I remembered the self who ground up Necco Wafers in water and made Pony Juice for a stable full of My Little Ponies, who stayed up late playing 20 questions, who got lost in books, who enjoyed cheesy movie marathons and eating Rice Krispie treats right out of the pan, who designed custom holiday cards complete with original poetry for people I loved—a wildly creative, fun-loving, curious, big-hearted creature. Those are all points and sources I can get behind, and remembering them balanced me. They also gave me back my joy.
Same goes for my current novel. Just this past weekend, I asked myself why I got into this mess in the first place.
And I remembered. It’s about magic and freedom and taking flight. Oh yeah.
Guess what happened next? I started writing again. And I liked it. Hallelujah!
If you, too are flitting and floating and fleetly fleeing your current project, if you crave your own Hallelujah, why not take a moment to come back to the point?
- Why did I start writing this in the first place?
- Why does it matter?
- What’s at the heart of this work?
- Is this work for the sake of someone or something? Who or what?
Let your answer come—in writing, in collage, in some other form of art
If for some reason, the answer feels muddled or hazy or shaky, that’s helpful information, too. Now’s your opportunity to uncover that point and course-correct.
Once you identify the point, post it somewhere on or near your writing desk. Let it edify you and lead you back to the pen, the desk, this story that matters.
Let your point sit across from you on the seesaw and keep you steady, and please, above all, enjoy the ride.
Thank you so much for reading. You might notice that I don’t have a space for comments, but I’m certainly open to conversation about what’s written here. If you’re so inspired, feel free to start a conversation with me via the contact form on the homepage of this site.