Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Restoring My Writer's Foundation

As the Labour Day weekend approaches, it seems like summer is spent. Soon enough schools, universities and colleges will be overflowing with students eager (or not) to resume their studies. Cafeterias and lunch rooms will be bubbling over with conversations and laughter as colleagues share the stories of their summer adventures. Traffic on Toronto’s roads will once again be nightmarish, packed with commuters some impatient, others distracted as they text or update their Facebook status attempting to navigate around all of the construction.

Summer may be spent, but for me it was a good summer. I took some much-needed time to recharge, to focus on what matters, to get back to the core of things. This has been a year when I have struggled to remain focused, to not let procrastination run rampant over my life. I have felt pulled by work, familial engagements, personal and professional goals in a thousand directions. It became necessary for me to step back and regain control over my life.

So I went back to the goals that I had set for myself at the beginning of the year (blog post “2014: My Year of Positivity”) and assessed my progress. My heart sank. I didn’t feel like I had made as much progress as I had hoped because my concentration had slipped away. It wasn’t as though I hadn’t done anything all year, I just didn’t want to acknowledge that I’m not a superhero. Despite the high expectations I set for myself, I can’t do everything I set out to do in a day, I can’t be all to everyone. I had to set priorities, and so I gave myself just one goal for the summer: finish the rewrite of the novel I’ve been working on since February by the end of the summer.

Whenever I had time, I wrote. On a short layover in London or Zürich or Tel Aviv, I wrote. First thing in the morning, I wrote. On the subway, I wrote. As my partner took his shower before bed, I wrote. All of a sudden the discouragement and disappointment that had plagued me earlier that had almost succeeded at breaking my spirit was peeled away.

I finished the rewrite of my novel on Sunday, 24 august 2014, and I’m still riding high on that. I have spent my summer doing what it is that I love to do: writing. And with writing at the top of my daily to-do list, there seems to be ample time for so many other things: visits with friends from Yellowknife and Ottawa, a day at the CNE, an exploration of the French culinary tradition. Doing what I love to do, life is grand.

These past couple of months, while I’ve been silent on my blog, have been about me restoring my writer’s foundation. A daily quota of words. Letting my desire to write carry me. Remaining disciplined. Maintaining my commitment to the craft. Being patient. Always having in my sights the long-term view.

Seated at my tiny bistro table on my even tinier balcony that offers up a view of the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Ontario, I write, and I am reminded that (as my own literary journey has shown) there are seasons of drought and seasons of abundance. My job is to write daily, to not settle for mere fiction to make it the best writing that I can.

And wherever I find myself, I will remain positive. I will keep writing, keep submitting, and hold steadfast and stubbornly to my dreams. I have laid the foundation, and now is the time to build upon it.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! I am so proud of you for all your hard work!