I can’t hide that, just like the weather did nothing for spring over here, the month of May did nothing spectacular for my writing. I have been staring at the blank screen and wondering what to write and the easy answer, for this month, has been to drop a few lines about any book I read and just go back to reading.
I mostly stuck to my writing resolution though, but by the skin of my teeth (how I love this expression in English?). I set myself a rule of 50 words minimum a day, so it takes very little on the bad days to take me off the hook and to consider it done, but still with these lax standards there were about five days where I just didn’t find anything to write.
I could find myself excuses (essentially a surge of activity in my job), but more often than not I was a bit overwhelmed by story lines that didn’t seem to matter that much, or didn’t seem to take the right direction. In preparation for my writing retreat (next week! no, just in about two days!!!), I had to open the chest full of old papers and try to define my priorities: what story did I want to focus on, which stories aren’t worth my precious time and attention. You probably know the expression “kill you darlings” often given to writers, but I found the exercise particularly tough and disheartening.
A few days ago I heard a short podcast by Ann Kroeker, a Christian writer who presents herself as a writing coach. Her podcast or her approach aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but she urged her listeners to come up with 50 headlines, as a challenge, to prove themselves (myself) that ideas were there, close by, and that creativity was also a habit rather than a miracle coming out of nowhere (I’m digressing). She was obviously addressing non-fiction writers and bloggers, but I couldn’t help thinking about my texts, my bits of fiction and memoir. Could I come up with 50 ideas? 50 fresh, brand-new ideas of stories seem completely crazy, but if I take the old “chest of ideas” with me, I’ll probably have at least one or two dozens of unfinished texts that would qualify. What if I could come up with the rest?