Posted by blk1 on October 23, 2008
Join on with Becca
I love the idea of everybody stopping in their tracks just to read, to enter into someone else’s world for a while. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the whole world took time every day to do that? And, wouldn’t it be even more fabulous if the the world took 20 minutes every day to write, to enter into our own worlds a little deeper, express our vision of life and ourselves on the page. Wouldn’t we all become more mindful of the beauty that surrounds us, the people that intersect with our lives, and more keenly attuned to our own thoughts and dreams? Those are just some of the ways my writing experience has enriched my life.
So, how about you? Do you make time to write everyday? Don’t you think everybody should?
Great prompt for this week because I can say YES!! I WRITE EVERY, SINGLE DAY and of course, I wish everyone else would join me.
I remember when I didn’t, when, even though I was an English teacher I could still teach writing and support the few real writers who passed through my classroom doors without actually being a writer myself. After all, I believed that most of us weren’t real writers.
So first I had to realize that yes, I AM A WRITER! That transformation took place at Bard College’s Writing and Thinking Institute during a week in July when I was 40.
What a transformative experience! I returned to my classroom, a writer and a teacher of writing and then sharing my writing with my students began our community of writers.
That was almost 20 years ago.
As I left Bard that first summer, I knew I would return for more week-long writing workshops to build my new identity and I did. I loved the change in environment, the creation of writing circles, the facilitator support to move rough drafts beyond with revision. I traveled, some summers. to writing workshops in Taos, with Natalie Goldberg, to Santa Fe with Robert Boswell, one of my all-time favorite writers, to Provincetown for poetry. What a wonderful way to spend summers!
After each great experience, I would leave with a fresh new journal, a great new pen and a promise to myself that my writing would continue daily to build my muscle and maybe even take a piece to publishing.
The members of my writing communities created during those wonderful weeks also made promises to write and stay connected.
None of my promises were kept. Sure I tired to keep writing. I couldn’t do it first thing in the morning, but I did keep a journal at school with my students. As they wrote, I wrote. That journal was a place I recorded school observations and I promised myself and my students that my notes would one day, serve as the foundation for a book about them.
So far, that hasn’t happened.
I had my personal journal residing on my night table with my latest new pen. I did begin strong, writing every night in August, the first month after the workshop. I continued into September, but not every night. By October I was only feeling guilty. By mid November, I got rid of my journal; I couldn’t stand to see it unused, calling out to me. I didn’t throw it away, but like most of the others, it was moved to a shelf in my bookcase, and became part of my writing history never to be opened again. Well sometimes it became my next summer’s workshop journal.
And sadly, I never kept up with the great writers I met along the way as well.
But something happened when I became a member of the Hudson Valley Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. My writing life was given something extra, a community that wrote together for a month and then as we completed our Summer Institute we were all invited to become permanent members of the HVWP and stay connected. Finally a community of writers beyond the initial experience. And I remained. In the following summer I was invited to join the new leadership team forming to Co-Direct the project and co-facilitate the summer institutes. I just finished our 8th SI and here I am writing away.
As a member of the HVWP and the National Writing Project, I attended a conference and discovered digital storytelling and the web. Since 2006 I have moved my writing from the journal and the pen to the computer and the blog, another transformative experience!
January 1, 2009 will mark the second full year that I have begun each morning(almost) writing into the day in my Word Count Journal. My NWP buddy Karen, in a IM conversation with me suggested it as a way to begin a new year and a new promise to write. One word on the first day, two on the second…a commitment for a full year and I jumped for it. She continues to read my journal, my buddy Kevin does as well. There are probably others in the Word Count community as well, probably I am writing for myself, as a daily ritual. Sometimes before the sunrise, sometimes without coffee, always in my pj’s.
I never return to my word count entries. They are just to get me up and moving. Then here is where I craft pieces for Memoir Mondays, Slice of Life Tuesdays, Write on Wednesdays and soon, National Novel Writing Month beginning on November 1. And with my passion for writing with images my online writing buddy Stacie, turned me on to a blog that showcases the image and word: http://blkdrama.wordpress.com
And these online writing communities offer me readers. So I write to a dynamic public audience that will read my entires and leave something behind in my comments section.
I began at 40, I’m turning 60 in 2009. Twenty years as a writer. Feels wonderful to be writing on this Web and I can still remember Al Gore mentioning something called the internet.