Ways to Stay Engaged with Your Writing
Why do we write? Presumably, it is because we have something to say. When the muse kisses us, whether in a classroom, sitting in a garden, at museum, or right before we get out of bed on an early Saturday morning, in an instant we are set alight and nothing can stop us from finishing a great work. At that point the intention is set and completion is inevitable. Nothing can hold us back – except for an early flight to the next city, an unexpected trip to the hospital after a joyride gone wrong, the looming auspice of a battle with an illness, the cold gray clouds blotting out the sun, or a complete change in circumstances. Suddenly the linear pathway of inspiration and promise becomes an ever widening outstretched road winding and weaving back and forth between the curves of our lives. The inevitable is not definite.
Many of us start and stop on many different roads like these – constantly starting and stopping. Some of us have been standing on the same road for years having only taken a few steps forward and few more backward. You find yourself asking, “Where the hell is Larry?” Larry is my 1001.5 year old fairy muse. He is gaunt, smokes cigarettes, and loves death metal music. We get along most of the time but I struggle with him due to his lack of consistency. You might find that your “Larry” has the same problem. I tend to think of the writers’ workshop as couples therapy for people and their muses (real or imagined). Specifically, I like to teach my students not to rely on Larry to come find them standing on whatever road is before them. Larry is an asshole. He does not care about when you will get back from your trip or like to work on weekends when you are free. So what should you do? Remember why you write.
Though our time together has been fruitful, I am well aware that some of us will walk out of this room never finishing the works we have started. Larry says, “Fuck that class –I got this.” Then work happens, lost car keys happen, laser kitty memes happen, relationships get complicated, your favorite show is on, that cute guy or girl is interested in you, and Larry … where the hell is Larry? Doesn’t matter- you still have to work.
What you have to say is important and please don’t ever forget that fact. Cleave to it when pushing back against all the distractions, intrusions, and prevailing twists of fortune and I have no doubt you will be successful in your written endeavors.
Without substance, what I have said is all platitudes and pretty words easily found on a laser kitty meme. For that reason see the following tips for continuing to develop your drafts: “Lit” Crawl: A Creative Writing Workshop.