Lately I’ve really been inspired by Paperbackwriter‘s (aka Lynn Viehl) series on coming back to writing after a break. She reminded me of the importance of thinking small, with writing prompts and exercises instead of, say, coming back to just carry on writing whole novels as if the interruption hadn’t happened. I took time off to go deal with a difficult pregnancy and then a difficult newborn and kept trying to restart as if I could just pick up where I left off. Or as if I could pick up the work schedule and work style that used to fit, forgetting that the life it worked around doesn’t exist anymore.
The writing life that I had with two kids can’t be the same with three. Especially when one of those three is an infant, with wildly different needs and a totally different schedule from the older two. Amazing how long it took me to realize that. But what writing life fits now?
I’ve been reading The Creativity Cure in hopes of some clues, and there again I got reminded of the importance of thinking small. Tiny bits of creativity feed the creative self and lead to a happier, healthier more balanced life. Like maybe those people who talk about writing a page a day which adds up to a book a year are onto something. Doing the creative work doesn’t have to mean doing it eight hours a day.
Really what’s been brought home to me is the importance of falling in love again. Why did I want to be a writer in the first place? The love of stories, of getting lost in fantastic worlds and amazing adventures with fascinating characters. The sounds of words; lugubrious. Gibbous. There’s a joy in particular words, words that capture the imagination, that say something in precisely one way that no other word can. There’s the beauty of a clean sentence or a convoluted one, a string of words painting a picture and meandering or rushing to paint it.
The one thing I know for certain is that I’ll never find the creative life that fits the life I’m living now unless I fall in love with tiny things. Words. Sentences. Tiny bursts of creativity. It’s okay to celebrate the small instead of focusing on and being overwhelmed by the huge.