A Chat about Writing

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Hello there,

Welcome! Please pull up your chair and grab a cup of your favorite coffee or tea and let’s talk writing, shall we? I’ve been thinking about writing lately, well, more like, I think about words all the time, my brain is always swirling with ideas, stories, like a little spider on my web, latching onto moments, wrapping them up for later opening, assimilating. The question is how does one take all that is up here and put it out beautifully down there? Onto that blank, crisp journal page, or get that blinking cursor moving? Well, the short answer is to just do it.  The long answer, I don’t know. I find that it is so hard to roll out a lovely smooth dough from all the ingredients being mixed in my head. I realize I have way too many metaphors going on here. That’s just how fast and how convoluted my brain operates. That’s part of my huge problem. Do you feel the same way? How do you organize your writing? How do you separate different threads and veins and voices rambling in your head? How do you choose which to give priority? How do you remember the light-bulb moments in the midst of cooking dinner or reading to a child? How do you turn off the tide when needed, but like the moon turn it back on and faithfully keep the ebb and flow going? How does one live real life, when the brain is living a thousand others? It often feels like it has to be all or nothing for me. That’s unrealistic.  I have a blessed, wonderful life here on earth. One that deserves faithfulness and attention, gratitude in action. One that actually is my real living breathing muse. However, I can’t silence those things happening upstairs and don’t really want too, necessarily. They are beauty, light, and a bit of wrestling with darkness as well. A continuing conversation that  binds all of the realness of this life on earth with the moments that inspire and lift us to our life beyond.

I vacillate between just spewing things out (like currently) or taking time to carefully think, research, edit, and meditate on something before the ink dries permanent. The latter takes huge amounts of energy and brain power, which I’m sure we all find in short supply.  I fill up on conversations, prayer, nature’s messages, my faith taking on wings, floating through my days, the books I drink from bringing me closer to a small glimpse of glory. I feel desperate at times for it to congeal into something with jello-like form.

Where does one find the stillness to process, slow down, and prioritize? I know for myself, it’s a choice. It’s a choice between getting my to-do list done, or sitting in a comfy arm chair snuggling with my little boy. It’s a choice between conversations with my oldest daughter sprawled on my big bed, or vegging on another Doctor Who episode. It’s a choice between scrolling through Instagram or reading another chapter of a delicious, enticing book. None of these are necessarily better or worse than each other, but for every yes, it’s a no to something else. Excess isn’t necessarily better, but how does one drain away the pond? How does one satisfy the insatiable hunger for words, thoughts, and newness? How does one be content with the little gift pulled from the squeaky bucket from the bottom of the well? How can one stop the constant motion and voices that never shut up, and birth something into life from that mess?

Anyway, just thoughts I’m thinking, metaphors I’m mixing, and awesome alliterations I’m always assembling.

🙂

Thanks for listening. Please feel free to chat back.

~

18 thoughts on “A Chat about Writing

  1. Oh, Amy. I love your questions here, -many are my own. I just can’t tire of telling you again and again that you have a beautiful and real way with words. You always inspire me. (I was thinking not long ago about what you so eloquently said, for every yes to something there’s a no to something else. I’ve also been reading thoughts of other women and writers, thoughts on how they lived and cultivate their art, their call.

    Something I’d love to throw in here, -which is not an answer to your many existential or life questions, it’s that the writer writes, as L’Engle proposes, to offer their view on life, to answer the question of meaning. You do that always. You always express the dynamics between our duties, interests, how they intersect, and how they pull us apart.

    I’d love to read your thoughts in print one day. I don’t know how or when, or even ‘if’ someone will find you in this ocean of competition for time to pay attention to the written word. But I keep encouraging you to write (one day you may collect your blog thoughts and publish them.) In the meantime, keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Whatever you’ve been doing seems (from this side of the fence) to be working for you. Keep it up.

    This is a simplistic answer – but also profound in its ability to capture the complex – NARRATION.
    I recommend scribbling. Just get it down. However it comes out. Make a mad dash. Then polish, polish, polish, on different days. Then polish some more. Shorten. Then polish another day. Etc. Some writers don’t have to fuss so much. I do, however.

    I often jot down a quotation from my reading and add a line of personal commentary, but I am flighty about it. I need to get better at keeping various neat-n-tidy notebooks. I write on the back of envelopes, paper napkins, grocery lists, church bulletins, and book marks. I scribble on sticky-notes which I attach to the bottom of my computer screen – – – in layers – – – at my desk. “What is all that?” my adult son chuckled when he saw it. I didn’t know how to answer him. To balance these fly-by-night techniques, notebooks at my desk and bedside contain my scribbled narrations. This is a step-up. But my desk is still a mess.

    Eventually these scribbles end up in a Microsoft Word document.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Karen, what a blessing to get encouragement and practical ideas from you! These are wonderful thoughts and I do use MANY ways of keeping track of things. I chuckled because I have lists, sticky notes, and ever so many journals as well. Yes, amazing point. Narrating everything right away. Just puke 😉 it up and out and yes, edit later. So true! Thanks again for your continued friendship and encouragement. ❤

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  3. Life is swirling around you. I have no words of wisdom for writing. I’ve always grabbed whatever time I could to write things down in the middle of the whirlwind. I suspect when the whirlwind becomes a gentle breeze, there won’t be much to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Amy, I read your post earlier today and I’ve been mulling it over in my mind pretty much ever since. These are wonderful questions, so poignant and important. Two that really stood out to me were: “How does one live real life, when the brain is living a thousand others?” and “Where does one find the stillness to process, slow down, and prioritize?”

    As I’ve thought about these, I was reminded of a concept that I was introduced to several years ago. Have you ever heard of Catherine Doherty? She wrote from a faith perspective about always doing “the duty of the moment.” “Doing the duty of the moment,” she wrote, “means focusing our whole person – heart, soul, body, emotions, intellect, memory, imagination – on the job at hand.” I’ve thought back to this concept when there are competing requests made upon my time and energy. (I probably need to think of it more frequently!) When I’m in whatever competing situation, and ask myself, “What is the duty of the moment?” I can often know almost instantly where I need to devote my energy and attention, in that and for that moment.

    “The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you,” Doherty writes. “If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it.” Often, I will get ideas for my writing when I’m doing things around the house or driving or doing any number of other things that encourage the mind to also be engaged in thought (so, maybe I’m not “fully” doing “the duty of the moment,” as Doherty defines it, but that’s what I do!). When that happens, and I get an idea to write about when I’m doing something else, sometimes, I need to assess the situation, . . . and just keep making dinner!

    But other times, I feel the need to stop, even if it means I don’t get the satisfaction of finishing something that I wanted to finish by a certain time. I’ve found that for me, sometimes, the “duty of the moment” is to work, other times it is to read a good book, or still other times to watch a good movie, or talk with a friend, or spend time with family. And still other times, the “duty of the moment” is to stop what I’m doing so I can devote some time to write down an idea, even run with it for awhile. I feel like writing is a gift, a talent to be worked at and cultivated and is legitimately a “duty of the moment” at times. And then, when the moment has passed (however long and short it may be), I need to leave my writing and re-enter and re-engage in the world around me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sooooo good, Heather! Thank you for these thoughts. Wow. So much to consider. I have not heard of Doherty, but the idea of just doing the “next right thing” isn’t new to me. I do need the reminder to S-L-O-W down and just be in the moment. I think I need to come to terms at times not only in my head, but in my heart about the season I’m in. It doesn’t mean I can’t pursue the things I love, it just means one has to push pause on them for the moment. It’s something I often wrestle with and it’s great to hear it from your perspective. Thank you so much for sharing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I once read a useful quote that may help: don’t get it right; get it written!
    It’s a great way to just begin.
    When I was writing round the children, I found those early mornings before they woke the best time because I could get stuff that needed out onto thepage before the rest of the day’s interference took hold. And I’m not an early morning person! Tea in bed with notebook was the best time though!
    You might also like to know that now those nestlings have flown I have none of those distractions and heck – do I miss them! There’s also no excuses ay more!! 🙂
    All the best. x

    Liked by 1 person

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