When I was in grad school, some of the poets challenged themselves to write one poem every day for the month of April, which is National Poetry Month. They called this WriPoEvDa: a nod to the more popular NaNoWriMo.
I struggle with poetry. I’ve asked poets for reading recommendations, I’ve taken poetry workshops, I’ve tried to get it–but I guess I don’t. Continue Reading
Whenever I talk to a writer, it seems like the topic of writing time is broached. Granted, I don’t talk to a lot of writers anymore (though I’d like to change that); most of my conversations revolve around preschool and poop. But whether conversing with a writer or a mother, I find that the tone is often the same:
How often do your kids poop? How often do you write? Is once a week enough? Have you tried sleep training? I start an egg timer and I stay at my desk until it buzzes. I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. I’m taking a parenting class at the Y. They say things happen in their own time. Have you tried probiotics? Have you read Burning Down the House? Charles Baxter is a genius. I hate Dr. Sears. All you need is fresh air and exercise, and things will fall into place. Continue Reading
Once, in grad school, a friend and I had planned to go out for a beer (or, in his case, a Diet Coke–he didn’t drink). He met me at my apartment and we went to the bar across the street, but first I had to finish a paragraph in a story I was writing. When I told him this, he was taken aback: “You can write at night?” he said. “I can write any time. Especially if I’m inspired.” “I can only write in the morning,” he said. “And even then it’s a struggle.”
Or something like that. (You know, in nonfiction, you can use dialog that isn’t verbatim.)
So I finished the paragraph and we got our drinks and we talked some more about our writing processes. He was a very structured writer who like to research his work extensively and used very specific ideas and themes to jump start his stories. He took joy in having finished writing, but not necessarily the writing itself–a position that all writers find themselves in at least some of the time. But I found it interesting that he had such strong ideas about when he could and couldn’t write. At the time, I found myself writing whenever I had a free moment; grad school provided masses of inspiration and time frames in which to complete stories.
Nowadays, however, I relate to my friend. Continue Reading