This is me, holding myself accountable to the goal that I set of updating this weekly.
It’s tough, because right now is the moment when I want to drop off the face of the earth and hibernate from everything that takes even the tiniest bit of effort. And I think the point is, that’s when I should be pushing myself to do something.
After the end of NaNoWriMo, I’m feeling rather uninspired. I haven’t felt like dragging my notebook out to the bar or the coffeeshop. I tried blogging at 101 Achievements, and I felt like I almost forgot how. I haven’t sent a query, haven’t really done anything creative besides work on a Christmas present I’m making my husband (which, incidentally, is making me an anxious, uninspired mess) and read some YA books that leave me feeling, ‘Why can’t I have that?’
(The answer to ‘why can’t I have that’ is kind of simple, at least so far: because I’m not doing anything to really go anywhere. If I wind up failing after trying and trying, that’ll be something different. But now, I’m not even going the distance of making attempts, so NO WHINING, FOX.)
Oddly enough: December is generally my favorite month. But this year, I just can’t even get excited about it. Yes, I blame Pennsylvania weather mostly (we have been having torrential downpours and NO SNOW), but I have just been feeling like I’ve come down with an acute case of the severe blahs, and I need some inspiration.
Back when I was in undergrad, the creativity just flowed out of me like this December rain has been flowing over our clogged gutters (true story: I, the girl who can’t keep a cactus alive, has managed to allow a small tree to grow in my gutter, which is too high for us to reach ourselves). I was writing daily, sometimes a couple of times a day. I never left for the library without bringing my journal and my writing notebook to pull out during study breaks. And my beat-up writing notebook (which I still have) was full of lists, which I would write in these fantastic multi-colored pens.
My favorite list: “Things I Like.” My second favorite list: “Things that Inspire Me.”
“Things I Like” was a long list to which I was constantly adding. Some highlights: horses in full gallop. the way shiny pages feel. the sound of walking on gravel. running and then diving into bed. strangers that remind me of people i love. calling bartenders ‘darlin’.
The notebook is also full of half-sentences and unfinished thoughts and ideas that struck me on the way to class. There are writing prompts, a detailed list of funny events that happened on an overnight drive to Boston, and this group writing project from 2003 that features zombies, lactose-intolerant llamas, and Roddy Piper.
The last time I wrote in the notebook was 2009, shortly after I finished my first draft of Death & Biology and was starting to really get into the mythology of the supernatural side of the story. And then… that’s it. D&B has its very own notebook, and the fact is, outside of blogging and NaNoWriMo, I don’t write much besides it. And then, of course, is the fact that I feel so uninspired at present anyway.
The things that inspired me and made me feel alive in 2003 are very concrete, very accessible, and even now, a decade later, I can feel the magic of those things when I read the words written in five different colors. But what about what inspires me now?
~ writing in hotels
~ overnight train trips
~ scrawling in a notbeook at a dive bar
~ my Zen-space at Phipps Conservatory
~ under covers with a good book on a cold night
~ being in the woods
~ every significant snowfall ever
~ listening to Disintegration over and over and over
~ leaving it all on the floor at 80’s Night
How do I let these things slip away from me so easily? How did I go from the girl who was always scribbling something in a notebook to the girl who is so wrapped up in Matters of Consequence that she uses laundry as an excuse to put off working on her book?
As ‘grown-ups’ (and I use the term loosely, as last night I found myself getting jealous of our friends’ babies who will be receiving stuffed bears from us this Christmas – I probably like stuffed bears even more than those babies!), it’s so easy to get caught up in the shuffle and forget what really keeps us solid, keeps us grounded. And for some of us, what keeps us grounded is having our heads in the clouds. Sometimes, going after what we want means going wherever our heart manages to launch us.
And sometimes, making it in this world full of Matters of Consequence means holding onto a little black beat-up notebook that’s home to some really important words.
December Resolution time is upon us (which I’ll be talking about in a later entry – ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ aren’t really my thing), and I’m going to make one now: bringing the little black beat-up notebook back to life. Bringing back a list of inspirations back to life. Bringing that side of me who’s never too exhausted to wake up and write down that dream detail that might be important in a story ten years from now.
(I think I still even have those pens.)