So, I’m sitting here eating the official food of women and thinking I haven’t done a Writer Wednesday post in a while.
In fact, I’ve been sorely neglecting this blog.
Blame exhaustion, my injury, school, and my shoddy internet connection. At least all of those combined have certainly made it difficult.
But in the end, writing or not is a choice. And I’ve chosen to neglect my blogging in favour of other things.
There are a lot of arguments against this concept of writing or not as a choice. What if you’re sick? What if you have no time to write because you’re always working? What if what if what if.
I accept that there are a lot of things that can get in the way of writing. I accept that writing everyday can be impossible.
But if you’re not writing a few times a week, then you’re not a writer. And that’s a choice.
When I say writing I don’t mean 7,000 words in a sitting; 10 chapters; a great new novel idea; a fantastic short story; a really engaging blog post. I mean, sure, those are things you can do with your writing time.
But writing time means just that: time in which you write. Anything bigger than a shopping list. Five words in your journal. A brief character sketch. Planning plotlines while you shower.
It doesn’t have to take more than five minutes. And if you’re like me, you’ll find that if you give yourself five minutes a day to write, you will start to feel better. And then more time will magically become available.
Writing is a lot like a spiritual practice in that way, actually. Those of us with orthopraxic religions, at least. In Evolutionary Witchcraft T. Thorn Coyle recommends using showering time to ground and centre — just five minutes of your time, during which you’re already showering so it’s not really extra time in your day. The more you ground and centre, the more time you’ll find becoming available in your day for more spiritual things. Soon you’re waking up a full hour early so you can sit in meditation. Or whatever your chosen practice is.
For me, writing is my chosen spiritual practice. I don’t always do my devotional dances in the morning (though I feel awesome when I do); I don’t always ground and centre; I don’t always meditate, or sing, or do daily devotionals.
I do always write. Not always on a specific project. Sometimes it’s two lines of dialogue. Sometimes it’s a blog post (like today). Sometimes it comes directly from the divine and I feel shaky but exhilarated after.
Sometimes I write on envelopes (there are a million I’ve kept, all with little story notes all over them). Brown paper bags, with sharpies. My arms. Duct tape. The wall (not since high school, actually; you tend to think more about keeping the house in good shape when you’re the one paying the rent — though when I do own my own house my writing office will have at least one chalkboard wall and lots of chalk), which may make me a bit more like Winifred Burkle than I realize.
Actually, a lot more, because writing keeps me sane. As do spiritual practices for many people. Myself included, as writing is one of my spiritual practices. Writing (on paper or the wall or the computer screen) gives me roads out of my own personal hell dimensions. And then at some point, I realized my writing was actually pretty good and I decided to publish. At some point a little later on, I realized my writing was more than pretty good; it was important — because it was yet another place where people could find strong women characters, and we need more of that. Not only that, but it was a place where strong women characters existed outside of patriarchy — which is even harderto find.
I don’t discount the strength of women characters within patriarchal bounds — goddesses know we need to see that in fiction because fiction informs real life. But we also need to see that there’s an alternative to patriarchy. It may not be perfect, but at least it’s different. (This is why the “Peaceful Matriarchy” mythos perseveres so strongly in Pagandom to this day.)
But that’s another blog post. My point for this one is that if you consider yourself a writer, then you best be writing.
Go on. Fill up that page. Even if it’s just with one massive word. And even if you’re a lefty (like me).