I’m Still Writing

Here's some proof.
Here’s some proof.

I’m not dead or anything. I’ve just been moving very slowly…

I’ve been concentrating on poetry a lot recently. I’ve had a number of ideas, and they’ve all been slow burners. I’ve been working on a draft of one poem for almost three weeks now! I seem to be coming up with lines quite often. My phone and notebook are bursting with images and loose descriptions. Images, conversations I’ve overheard, or things I’ve felt. I only wish these waves of creativity would calm a little and give me some time to draft something out on the wet sand. Even if the next wave were to sweep it away, at least something of substance would have existed. If only for seconds.

So I wanted to write a little something about dedication and commitment, because I seem to be struggling with both of these. Commitment is the worst, because it’s a restriction on freedom. It can also be understood negatively; as a process of applying yourself to a project or activity you no longer necessarily enjoy. I see dedication a little differently. To be dedicated is to apply yourself directly to an action. ‘I’m dedicated,’ is far more solid than, ‘I’m committed.’ There’s a wholeness to dedication, a kind of internal understanding that this is what I’m doing, I’m doing it, it may be difficult, I may want to give in, but I’m dedicated. It’s part of me. To be committed, then, is to be almost forcefully dedicated to some action or project. Maybe an outer force restricts, or an inner rational, religious, moral or ethical force – but one that is not sound. Not whole.

So…

I am dedicated to poetry.
I am committed to prose.

Look, more writing!
Look, more writing!

I realised that last month, because last month is pretty special. National Novel Writing Month takes place during November, which you may remember me completing last year. In a way I quite enjoyed it. I certainly felt like I’d achieved something when I got to the end! Yet on the first of December you realise that all of that work was so rushed that the mass of text on the page is dangerously unedited. It’s really only just the beginning. This year I intended to take part in NaNoWriMo again, but couldn’t even start…

It was always going to be harder this year. Last year I was between jobs, so I had the whole day to knock out 1,2333 (or whatever it is) words. This gave me time to think about how each sentence was placed. I didn’t have that kind of time this year. When I sat down to start I felt numb, almost sick. I knew as soon as I typed those first 500 words or so I’d have to commit myself to the next 50,000 or 25,000 – whatever target I’d decide to give myself for the month. It felt like the wrong approach to writing, but I know when it comes to prose getting the words down on the page is of utmost importance. The magic almost always happens during editing.

am still writing, however. I’m no longer sure what the word count is thus far… and I don’t care. It’s big, and it’s getting bigger. That’s all I know. I’ll finish these poems and crack on with it through the next few months. I really haven’t far to go. The end is in sight!

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2 thoughts on “I’m Still Writing”

  1. I began Nano this year, with the intention to use the extra incentive to finish a few pieces of short fiction at which I’ve been feverishly scribbling away. Unfortunately, November proved to be the most hectic month of the year so far and my Nano page has been left to rot. I did get three or four pieces finished, though I can’t claim they were in the context of the challenge — I wrote them during National Novel Writing Month, but not because of. What’s this novel on which you’re working?

    Also, your girly-hair intrigues me and I’d like to know more.

    1. It is a lot harder when it’s a busy month, that’s for sure. I found myself in a similar situation as you – writing as I normally would – which is far less stressful, in any case. At least we managed to get some writing done, eh?

      I’m still writing that science fiction post-apocalyptic thing, you know about that right?

      You know enough about my girly hair, it hasn’t changed much. What happened to your girly locks?

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