As I sift through a substantial number of folders containing writing projects that began but were never finished, I realize I’m seeking some clarity. You know the kind. Like the water in this tidal pool at Harvey’s Beach in Old Saybrook. But what I needed to do moving forward was not crystal clear. We want some kind of guarantee that where we are headed is the “right” direction. The “right” path. We can go for long periods with questions lurking as we ache for answers, for direction. Rumi tells us “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…” I’ve been impatient and anxious to have a plan. It is being revealed to me slowly.
But who wants to wait?
I meandered through piles of paper folders and countless Word docs on my computer to peruse the possibilities for my new project. My kick-off date is October 13 th, when I will begin writing my book in earnest. I adore autumn so October is always a good time for a new beginning.
Although I thrive in an atmosphere of organization and simplicity, that joy has not made its way into my digital life and my computer files are far less organized than my physical life. So, finding documents, files and photos is always an excavation process and never easy. “I know it’s here somewhere…” After all, this is A Simple Writing Life. Let it be so.
In search of my next project...
I opened one file that really gave me a chuckle. We just can’t take life or this journey too seriously and it's always freeing to be able to laugh at yourself. The document I’d last looked at a few years ago was titled “Harlequin Romance Novel #1,” because of course there would be several. “Ahh, here’s a possibility,” I thought. I clicked on the document and there it was…a blank page.
Moving on… I continued my search for the piece that would speak to me. “Finish me, finish me, “it would call. I moved on to paper files and found a folder that was significantly thicker than all others, signifying that I had worked on it far longer, had put more time into it already. But for me, shuffling around paragraphs, re-organizing chapters and revising ideas, is more challenging than just starting over. That blank page was looking appealing.
But can a blank page EVER look appealing?
As a rule, in the writing life, as well as for any artist, the blank canvas can be pretty intimidating. At my Creating A Writing life retreats for emerging writers, many have reported over the years, the freeze, the stage fright, the inertia, that takes over when confronted with the blank page. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, dirty laundry is calling, the cat litter needs to be changed, or we realize it’s time to call that long lost uncle in DesMoines. But in its own time clarity will descend upon us, we will place our butts in the chair and begin to write. Because that is what we are called to do.
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