I watched some kind of ice skating competition a couple of weeks ago. Whenever I watch these amazing athletes, especially when its the Olympics I am just in awe of their dedication. They get up in darkness to go practice before school or work. They practice after school. They practice for hours and hours and hours. When faced with this kind of passion I ask myself a question: Do I have the same passion and dedication for my writing? If I did wouldn’t it be easier to sit down and write for hours every day? If I did wouldn’t I want to write more than anything like the 12-year old artist who paints after school and all night long instead of hanging out at the mall with her friends because it is what she loves to do. Or pianists who play for hours everyday. Do I not love to write? Do I love it enough? I begin to wonder what if I put in eight hours a day of writing, how would that improve it? But then I remember, that while I have the luxury of staying home for my family and working a very flexible freelance life, I don’t have the luxury of eight hours a day. While I don’t have the responsibility of needing to contribute to our financial stabilty I do have the responsibilty of creating a life that nurtures my family. But this is off the track of where I want to be. I am talking about dedication and putting in those hours and I am talking about it because I haven’t been putting in those hourse. Not lately. I’ve put in some. I am still rewriting a story and everytime I finish a revision I say, “Finally, it’s done.” But then it’s not. And I dread looking at it again for fear that it still isn’t done after at least twenty major revisions. Then I think, that’s dedication, isn’t it? Of course it is. I have been filling pages and notebooks for the last fifteen years. That’s dedication. I have to remember that these lulls are part of the process. Part of the creative cycle.
And while I’ve not been writing as much as I expect myself to I have been doing other things:
– finished Christmas shopping and wrapped them all- even the stocking stuff
– made a birthday card
– made a gift for a friend
– handmade over 40 Christmas cards and got them all sent out, many with handwritten notes
– did a family photo to put in the cards
– decorated the house for the holidays
– planned a holiday party and hand made the invitations
– cut 150 words off a story and sent it to Mid-American Review
Apparently my writing lulls can be quite prodcutive. And while I’m not writing a lot I am still writing and when I’m not, I’m mulling over stories and characters, trying to find that door back in. I think that is what the lulls are for. Just a gentle meandering in my mind of my stories, getting a little distance, keeping my eyes and ears open for that one thing that I see or overhears that breaks the story wide open for me again.