Who knew that finding time to write could be so hard? When I was not working full time, I felt energized and ready to sit for a while with my keyboard and my mind, spinning quietly until a thought settled and took hold. Ideas jumped about it my world, subjects presented themselves to me, begging to be explored. Now, only 3 weeks into a new semester, I am rendered speechless…Well, not speechless but the energy required to sit and write, to ponder and organize thoughts, takes longer to mine. There are pesky, little voices clambering for my attention, telling me I should be doing something else.
Yesterday, I heard a talk by renowned poet, essayist and political activist Ishmael Reed and he, along with the other writers in attendance at the lecture, said it is important to cultivate discipline, to carve out specific time to write and to invest yourself in your practice. Not all that comes out will be worthy of an audience but through the act, something valuable is gained and ideas are concretized. This is not new to me; it is something I herald to my students all the time. So why is it so hard to heed my own advice?
Thank you, Mr. Reed, for reminding me of the commitment to the word, to working on style and creativity and the art of prose. It is far to easy to push it aside when other things beckon, like grading papers, grocery shopping, laundry or taking my dog for a walk. But it’s important to keep writing, whether good or not so good material comes out. No one perfects a craft without sincere effort.
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.” Annie Lamott