Saturday, 25 June 2016

Where I need to be

Wind blown progress
My focus has shifted. I am no longer looking over the horizon, plotting and planning my next overseas trip. Instead I am settling in, getting comfortable in my everyday routines. At the recent Jean-Christophe Rufin event a woman asked him whether he had another walk planned. He replied that writing the book had been a journey in itself, in essence an opportunity to do the walk all over again. My world seems to be moving in a similar direction. I need to get more serious about exploring my writing. I have been on this path for a while, but I haven’t fully acknowledged it and have continued to make excuses. This last semester I have scraped by on the minimum requirements. Assignments were started with time to spare, but were finished just in time. In my last piece I didn’t leave enough room for a final edit and made a POV mistake that I like to think I could have prevented if I had had clearer head space.

Where's the goal?
Uni assignments do give me some scope to carve out time for writing. But I do feel a lot of pressure to still be present for others and I am not good at refusing invitations to come out and play. I want to find my creative rhythm again. I need to gather up some of my scattered energy and direct it into my writing. I know that when I am writing – well or badly – I feel better about the world. I have a sense of achievement just in turning up at the desk. Seriously, there is really not too much competition for my time at 7am on a Sunday morning, just my own resistance!

Collecting pieces
So I have been looking for external compulsions like having a uni assignment due to prod me along and have discovered the wondrous world of writing competitions. On my pin board I have three lined up in order of due dates. One is on a theme – Pushing Boundaries, the second seeks a response to I once dreamed of being a… and the third is completely open. The word limits are also diverse – 2,000, 500 and 3,000. So I have a draft for the first and ideas for the second and third ones. Although this morning I discovered that whilst I have an idea for the third one I do not have a strong sense about the central character, so that will need a bit more percolation.

The bare bones
The other very helpful element is my new writing group, made up of some of the Melbourne ladies from last year’s Hardcopy program. The first time we met I put in an old piece from the travel memoir. I got some useful feedback, but I’m just not sure where the memoir is going right now. The second time I didn’t submit anything and felt a bit of a fraud. The third time will be next week and I will be offering the Pushing Boundaries draft, a totally new piece. And the following time I plan to have a draft of the 3,000 word piece. I am just a little bit excited to be on the front foot again. It has felt really good to sit at my desk (aka the dining room table) and commit to being here. I am feeling more organised and in charge of what I am planning and doing, gathering up my scattered energies and starting to channel them onto the page. I am where I need to be for the journey that I am on – so let’s see what I can deliver.