Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Writing Anniversary To Me

Officially yes I am in an internet blackout for the next week ... but I will still be posting blog articles as they come to me, along with [Fiction] Friday, Musical Musings and a new installment of Captain Juan.

I wont be replying, commenting or answering emails until Thursday next week though. Thanks for supporting me in his much needed space of nurturing and reconnecting. Jodi xxxx

It’s a year today since I decided that I would “Just Write.” This was the culmination of three and a bit years (since becoming a Mum) of trying to decide what came next. I had tossed around the idea of returning to uni, as I was half way through a psychology degree when I fell pregnant with Dylan and we moved to Brisbane. At the time I went through a lengthy and stressful process to ensure that I kept my almost perfect Grade Point Average to gain me entrance into one of the prestigious unis in Brisbane.

I found that after the baptism of birth and early mothering, that my attitudes and my beliefs had shifted, that returning to study psychology wasn’t doable from either a practical position (I wasn’t going to put Dylan into care so I could study) or an intellectual position. I had moved on as a woman. I spent time considering different courses that I could study, but none of them rung true. Throughout this time I edited a magazine, did the layout and watched its distribution grow.

When I was having a big clean up at the start of the year I came across some exercise books from 2005. Inspired by an article I had read called ‘The Mother and The Muse’ I was trying to get back in touch with the part of me that loved to write. These were the books to capture my thoughts and story ideas ... not suprisingly other than a few pages that include my goals for the year - they are empty. While I was writing an editorial each quarter (which grew and became more controversial the more confidence I had in my writing ability) and aiming to have an article published ‘somewhere’ I wasn’t committed on any level to writing fiction.

In 2006 I came across the One Book, One Brisbane short story competition, a few days before the competition closed. I sat up late a few nights in a row pumping out a story that seemed to go no where. I never submitted it, but it was a taster … I could write fiction again, as well as my non fiction stuff. But I didn't.

2007 saw me join the ranks of those with a MySpace page. I did it while I was having a bit of an identity crisis. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to create there - who my online personnae would be. It was also my introduction to the blog phenomenon and the excitement of having others read your work. When I decided to just be myself on MySpace (what a shocking revelation that was) I slowly began to take baby steps into blogging. After a while, I began to set aside Friday nights to enjoy the process of writing. I was particularly productive during the Mercury Retrograde phases, spurred on by the Woolie’s soundtrack to my life that always seemed to be playing as I went in to buy groceries.

In August we took a week’s trip to the mountains. I took my journal and spent long hours, while Dylan and Dave were hiking trying to sort through how I felt about life. I came to the conclusion my life was out of balance and I tried to work out a way to get a balance between mind, body and spirit. Not long after we returned, on the Virgo solar eclipse, a year ago today, the conclusion to my dilemma came like a lovely afternoon breeze …. I could just write. How simple.

From what I remember it was a slower process between making the decision and beginning The Artists’ Way but it seems from reading back of journals from the time it happened far quicker than I remember. The 13th will be the anniversary of me beginning The Artist Way for the first time. And it was a fast and furious unfurling and discarding of all the things around me that did not support and nurture my creativity. Not only did I sign up with some new friends to do The Artists Way, I also discovered Write Stuff (now Write Anything) and began venturing into the realm of fiction, and away from the autobiographical essays I’d been writing.

Then came the moment of reckoning – did I have it in me to do NaNo? The two friends in my creative cluster were going to do it – why shouldn’t I. They each had five kids, one with a small baby. I only had one child. But when I looked at what I did each day, I wasn’t sure where I would find time to write 1667 words each day. It proved to be a pivotal moment. I decided that I would do NaNo and as a consequence I would cut back on all my volunteer work. I would start saying no to others, and start saying yes to me. A routine began to grow around me.

I got through NaNo, and learnt a lot about myself as a writer and where I wanted to go in life. A week later I had a huge break through – I was addicted to busy-ness. I realised that it was time to stop doing volunteer work and focus on my passion as a writer. After four years it felt as though I was cleaving off a limb … but I did it.

It hasn’t been all peaches and cream. I’ve written some good stuff, written some bad stuff, got myself caught up in great projects and difficult projects. Most recently I’ve been suffering a crisis … a crisis that went without a name until today. I’d been having a crisis of connection. It wasn’t doubt or a lack of confidence … I’d pulled the plug on my connection to the creative stream that had been nurturing me since those early days last year of The Artist Way last year.

I’m not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but it did. And it explains a lot. It explains my frustration with writing and the futility that I’ve found in trying to find new characters, new scenarios, new ways of looking for things. Rather than just open up and be a conduit for whatever was out there, I was searching through trying to find something. I’d closed down.

Now I’m trying to open back up again. Reading Julia Cameron’s biography has reminded me of some fundamental things that I either didn’t get in the first place, or that I had forgotten.

Trust in the Universe … if I take care of the quantity the Universe will take care of the quality. Basically it’s asking the ego to take a seat. So now, I’m committing to writing three pages a day (in preparation not only for NaNo but for the rest of my life as a writer) … and whatever comes out comes out. Today I discovered not just two brand new characters, a whole brand new sci-fi world .. complete with social systems, geography, beliefs .. just coming in from out there.

ASK and you shall receive ... It’s something that I’ve always had trouble with. I will never ask for help when I’m struggling. In my morning pages I’ve bitched, moaned, complain, wailed … and then beat myself up because I can’t find a solution to my problem, that seemed unsolvable. What I never considered was surrender … and to offer my problem up to the Universe and ask for help. To ask for guidance, wisdom … help! I have now, this morning and already I’m starting to see things a little more clearly.

Disconnect from distractions and toxic situations. For me it means taking time away from the internet and from life in general, to spend more time with my family, revisit some old friendships that have slipped through my fingers this year, get my old routines back on board. In disconnecting there is a natural affinity then to connect with the things that love, nuture and nourish you. Today I found that once my three pages of writing were done, and without the internet, I realised did a load of washing, put away the dishes, considered dinner. In the last few months these have all been areas of my domestic life that just wait for crisis point to be reached before anything is done about them. I also feel I’ve shrugged off the heavy shroud I’ve been wearing – weighed down by my connections to worry and anger.

Watch for synchronicity. The Universe has asked me, or told me to do some pretty bizarre things in the last year – one day I’ll share my business card story. The Universe had stopped speaking to me, or I had stopped listening. When I started to loosen up yesterday, a thought came to me about a problem I’ve had with getting a script up and running for my Demon Lover story. The worst thing about the whole thing – it was so bloody obvious the answer … and I imagined the fun and adventure that could be gained by having another person write this with me. Now I’m waiting to see the moments of synchronicity open up all around me. I feel as though I am connected and riding the river of creativity.

Get out and walk. Walking has always been a meditation for me. I’ve been having trouble getting out of bed and have been beating myself up for my slackness. How can I get my life back on track if I can’t even get out of bed? Answer: find a creative solution.Instead of trying for a 5am or 6am walk, I decided earlier on this week that Dylan and I could take a walk in late afternoon. Granted it’s not quiet, but it is leisurely and it’s something special for just the two of us – sticks, dogs, flowers, clouds etc. It’s a way of slowing the world down and getting back in contact with not just the natural world around with me, but with Dylan as well.

It’s good to reflect but it feels good to be reinventing myself over, reconnecting, reviving and renewing my resolve as a woman, as a mother, a partner and as a writer. Spring most definitely is in the air!

1 comment:

Annie said...

Bless you darlin! thanks for sharing.