Postcard #4 – Start here

Where I Am Not
Where I Am Not

I have a new sticker for my laptop.  It reads ‘Get Lost. Write.’  The sticker is from Camp Nanowrimo.

Getting lost in my writing is a good thing.  Getting lost and scared before I write is not a good thing.

There is no map for writing.  The map is created as I move my head and heart and hands across the page and the keyboard.  I call myself Writer.  I could call myself Explorer.

I read other writers’ maps, and they give me clues to what I might find in my map.  The key word is ‘might’.  Their maps are not mine.  The map I create is my own, the trails and geography unique to me.

I have learned to start here, exactly where I am in my life in this moment.  I learned this from Julia Cameron’s and Natalie Goldberg’s maps.

I know here, a familiar place to step out from.  If I come to my day’s writing feeling lost and scared, forgetting how the words always do flow, I start here.  Where I am, what the weather is doing, how I am feeling, what I want to write today.  I let my writing be just what I am thinking, seeing, feeling, what is in front of me.  I do this as long as I need to.  And then my head and heart and hands slip from thinking about my writing to just writing.

The writing is not scary.  It’s the thinking that is scary, and it’s not real.  It’s not true.

What is true is the writing I have already done.  The ideas I have for writing not yet created.  The place I have made for myself in my life to write and love what I write.  The permission I have given myself.

I am a Writer, an Explorer.  I create my map as I go, and I always start here.


Mentioned in this post:

Julie Cameron, ‘The Artist’s Way’ and more

Natalie Goldberg. ‘Writing Down the Bones’ and more

Camp Nanowrimo


The Inside Out Upside Down Draft

I Walked The Storm And Became Its Centre (Ethan)
I Walked The Storm And Became Its Centre (Ethan)

I woke at 6:30 this morning to soggy sloppy snow on the ground, in the trees, and filling the air.  My husband’s comment–‘out like a lion’, referring to March 31 today.  Upside down Spring.

Yes, I am writing this post a day ahead because tomorrow, April 1, Camp Nanowrimo begins.  I am signed up to spend April revising the first draft of my book.  I have a virtual cabin full of twelve of us writing similar work.  New friends and fellow writers for moral support, for whining and freaking out with, and for mutual cheering on.

It feels appropriate to begin my revision on April Fool’s Day.  I am nicknaming this second draft the Inside Out Upside Down Draft, because that is exactly what is going to happen with it.

This is the shake-up of the first draft.

I’ve never revised a book before.  Have edited loads of essays, posts, letters, policies, poems, term papers.  But never a whole book.

This feels a little intimidating.

I am approaching it with a bag full of Cadbury Cream Eggs and a can of bear spray.  I am walking into the deep woods without a map.  This is taking my courage and my first draft and being willing to read, feel, take apart, backtrack, turn sideways, throw out, write again and write again, feed that to the bear, and write yet once more.

The chocolate is for me.  The bear spray is for the draft if it gets out of control and tries to bite me or anyone else.  The bear I just mentioned—he loves to eat bad writing.  I plan on feeding him as much as he can take until I am left with only the good writing.  Bear is sitting out there in the melting slush right now.  Drooling.  He just came out of hibernation.  He’s HUNGRY.

And so am I.  Hungry to play with words galore tomorrow, and for the next twenty-nine days after that.

I’ll send postcards.

Wish me luck!


Mentioned in this post:

Camp Nanowrimo    campnanowrimo