Monday, March 22, 2010

Bite me deeply.

In the paraphrased words of Edie Ramer, if I write three pages a day, that's over a thousand pages a year.

I haven't written a single page of anything since the ball dropped on 2010. But today, approximately fifteen minutes ago, I hand wrote three pages of gibberish. The instep of my thumb ached afterward. I thought of Edie's words when I finished, smiled and fired up the blog. She's today's inspiration, a person who keeps on giving while never giving up.

Why three pages? A few years ago I discovered The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. The text taught methods to overcome obstacles, which included writing "morning pages," three pages of random gibberish first thing in the morning. Religiously I wrote three pages each morning while the coffee brewed and the eye goop still festered. I had once mentioned this to Edie, and thus her paraphrased comment above.

After two or three years of morning page regimen, I slowly discontinued them. It was hard writing the very first thing in the morning, especially after Monster Chihuahua took up residence.

But then the habit of writing was lost, too.

Writing. The one thing that sustained my life took a back seat to my life. Until this afternoon when I forced myself to just do it. A blank tablet of paper sat beside me, so I picked it and a pen up and started the ride. I felt released from captivity. Fresh air rushed into my gray matter.

I felt all writerly. Ready to begin something new. But, but, but...

I know I need to ease my way back in just like an athlete in rehab (for a physical injury and not the Tiger kind). My gut tells me to take it slowly, three pages per day until of week of gibberish has gone by. That's my plan...

Like a recovering addict, I need a program. I need to make a plan that feels right, one that acts like a crutch to my dwindling confidence. And similar to the twelve step program, I'm relying on faith, my Monster Chihuahua constant proof of its power.

Any words of wisdom are greatly appreciated, and feel free to share the longest word drought, if any, you've had. How did you get it back into gear?


Edie Ramer said...

I quit for a few years, but I channeled my energy into other creative fields -- including writing humorous verses for greeting cards. But I kept going back to writing. The other fields weren't the same thing as writing. I wanted to tell big stories, not verses.

Just write those three pages first thing in the morning. Not about yourself, but about a character. If you can't think of a story, interview a character. See what he or she wants to tell you.

You love Lola. Make her a character in your book. What does she want to say?

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, great idea! My characters do the gibberish talking. Seriously, the reason I used to do it was to empty out my brain and reconcile feelings. Why can't that concept work for my imaginary people? YES IT CAN! :) Thanks so much for that thought.

And what would Lola say? "Four legs are better than two. Squatting is easier than dragging."

Natasha Fondren said...

Gently. Whatever feels good. Whatever delights you. Whatever is fun to think about or write about. :-)

I've taken weeks off, even up to six months off. Last year my productivity was so low, I almost may as well have taken it off. :-)

Kath Calarco said...

Yes, yes, yes, Natasha! (Does that bring back memories of old Herbal Essence commercials?)I think one of the any blocks I faced was forcing to write in a story that un-funned itself.

Now if I could come up with a way to keep it fun, I'm gold. Gold, Natahsa! GOLD!

Edie Ramer said...

I just read Natasha's comment. Ha! Her slow times of writing are faster than my fast times.

But the answer she gave you is great. I remember reading Julia Cameron's book years ago. I'd scribble my 3 pages first thing in the morning, and then... Nothing. I've done my 3 pages, and that satisfied my urge to write. When I realized that, I switched to writing book pages first thing in the morning.

Kath Calarco said...

I gotta say that doing Julia Cameron's version of "Morning Pages" helped me in a lot of different ways, especially in dealing with some of my "eye-angst." Yet, when I saw an interview of her I got the feeling she was a bit of a whack-job, lol.

By the way, both yours and Natasha's writing wealth AMAZE me. I hope to return to that sort of diligence.