I’ll be honest, I don’t really know how this series will turn out but I have made it one of my goals for 2015 to develop my own writing practice. Of course, I have been writing for more than half my life but usually just for myself. Although, I recently found a file folder of some ideas and writing I had in late high school when I was obsessed with books about espionage and history. I was reading a lot of Jack Higgins, John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum. I guess it was no surprise that I was a history major in university. I didn’t really write a lot for myself in my university years as I was pretty busy researching and writing essays. I did, however, continue to write in my journals. After university I became a high school teacher so a lot of my time was spent creating lessons and the items that go with it. It was through my job though that I took additional courses in teaching English (in Canada) English Language Arts which is where I began exploring more of my own writing again.
Fast forward, I had three kids in just under 4 years and pretty much most of my reading and writing was pushed way, way, way back in the priority lists. And I was just too, **** tired (family blog better watch my wording). Most of the books I was reading were board books, concept books and picture books. So naturally most of the writing I have been doing in the last few years centre around kids. Just last year I finally devoted one journal to my actually writing ideas. As you can imagine, I have ideas strewn all over the place. Back of envelopes, different journals, napkins, school papers, my purse agenda book. That is how my brain feels sometimes. Ideas scattered everywhere.
I did manage to compile the many notes on one topic and write it up in an actually rough draft. Then I sat on it again for awhile. Mainly because of lack of confidence. Then in the summer I handed that story to two close friends of mine who both have kids and love to edit. That was a gargantuan step for me. I mean GARGANTUAN! Oh, the vulnerability of putting myself out there for other people to see and read. I was finally at a place in my life where I could make these moves and not feel completely deflated with small setbacks. I reworked my story over, over and over again until I had no idea what to do with it anymore. That is when I enlisted the help of a professional who does picture book manuscript evaluations. Yikes! Maybe I had been labouring all that time on this story for nothing. Maybe it sucked really bad! I am happy to say that it was the best thing I had ever done. Her analysis of my manuscript gave me renewed vigour to carry on which is where I am right now.
My mantra for this year of writing is going to be to ‘Start where I am’. I have pulled this book off my shelf once again, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg and whenever I need some inspiration to write I open a chapter and read. On page 19 she discusses how to create a list of topics for writing practice and so I begin there. I like this idea because it gives me focus and direction. And of course it is great idea to have ideas ready for those days when I don’t know what to write.
Here is an example of my list I have started:
*The time I fell off a bridge
*Nosebleed in junior high math class
*What is a trumble bumble or a trumble dumble?
*Why pink is my favourite colour
*I will write daily with the intent to open myself up and stretch my writing muscles.
*I will commit to revising and editing my current picture book manuscript with focus and passion
*I will connect with more writers whenever I can.
My hope is that I will keep this series up possibly twice a month on Fridays. I do have 2 Pinterest boards devoted to writing and publishing, if you would like to follow just click the links below to be transported to my boards. I can also be found on Twitter, or on Facebook. I look forward to this year and all it has to offer.