Monday, August 19, 2013

Staying Grounded

Last Friday (16 August 2013) I attended the Opening Day of the 135th edition of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). It was a bright, sunny day and, after several days of below season temperatures, summer had returned to us again. I spent several hours wandering around Exhibition Place, taking in the sights, playing Midway games and tasting some of the food on offer. It was a day of adventure that conjured up memories of my youth, and allowed myself to be a kid again.

Working through what seems like a long, and at times difficult, rewrite of a novel, I needed just such a day to step out of my routine. I needed a day to rest. I needed to step away from the drama playing out on the page between my characters.

I needed to get back to myself.

The last year has been a season of change. A new job. A move. A new home. A new love. It has been, and on many levels continues to be, a challenge to anchor myself again, to stay grounded in my art. After being blessed with three and a half years where I was able to focus solely on my art, I must now “fit it in” around a demanding work schedule. There are days when I don’t feel like writing and I have to find a way to trick myself into writing. Like today. I’m not allowing myself to head to Chapters until I’ve spent an hour working on the Chapter Seven rewrite. And it still seems silly that I have to coax myself into writing sometimes. But as silly as it does seem, it works — especially on a day like today when I feel restless.

Whenever I say I feel restless, it never quite seems to be the right word. It’s more that I feel unfocused, that I’m unsure of the way forward. While I’m trying to focus on the writing and moving my projects forward, I can’t help but wonder if this is the manuscript that will sell. And how will it be received? Better than the last novel? Worse? My mind has jumped ahead to the future, concerned about whether or not I’m “making it,” while here I am, trying to stay grounded in the present and focused on making my art. It’s a double-edged sword that sends me spinning.

But I keep on keeping on.

The act of writing almost instantly quells my fears, helps to restore a sense of hope. After all, I have given myself over to providence, set out to follow my heart’s desire. Isn’t that what life is all about? Despite a demanding work schedule, I still manage to write daily. The novel edges forward word by word, paragraph by paragraph. There are days when I feel discouraged, like I’m spinning out of control. Yet I’m able to keep on keeping on not simply because of my goal to publish a novel and more short stories but because of my godsends.

I’ve mentioned this before. My godsends are my friends, spread out across North America, who are friends to me and my writing. They are the friends who reach out to me (without asking) at a time when I need encouragement the most. They are, as Julia Cameron puts it, “believing mirrors” whose support has been constant. Messages from my godsends get me back to the page, and help me to stay focused.

It is late-morning, and another bright and warm summer day. It feels like the foundation is shoring up under my feet because I know that each day I do something to edge myself, and my art, forward. I have faith, and that allows me just for today to keep on keeping on.

1 comment:

  1. Keep at it, my dear. I look forward to your next publication!