I like hearing about what other people dream of. It's like being let in on a secret. I'm not always so open about my secret wishes. Sometimes I feel as if I need to accomplish it first and then announce that I had been dreaming it all along, just so I'm not so vulnerable in the dreaming phase, you know? But, other times the inverse is true, sometimes it's healthy to just put it out there! Let the universe see what you're made of! So here's what I'm dreaming of:
It's not exactly the lack of time, although that's certainly a factor! It seems to be more about the amount of creative energy available to me in a day. I think we've talked about this before. I used to be a well of poetic thought (not that it was so great, but there was sure a lot of it!), and now I often find myself with time to write, but minus the energy to do so. When I did Nanowrimo, I got up at 5am many mornings and LOVED it, so I don't know why I can't do that on a regular basis. It's my perpetual goal. A certain little 19 month old sweetheart might have something to do with my lack of success toward said goal... Of course, there it is, the perspective that babies don't stay babies forever, and there will always be time for writing, some day.
In the meantime, I have a very supportive and understanding husband who often takes the kids out for long walks after dinner and tucks them into bed, all so that I can sneak away to the library and get in a little creative time. We make do with what we have, don't we? Squeezing in moments of reverie, notes jotted on the back of a grocery store receipt, dreams plotted by the midnight oil.
Here are a few things I do to keep on plugging away at this little dream of mine. I thought you might like a glimpse, and perhaps if some of you are also writers-in-embryo you might glean some ideas and share your own with me!
- I listen to this talk over and over. I love a good inspirational talk. This one is interesting even if you don't like to write, but excellent if you do.
- I print my stories out and tape them on the wall. I look at them as a whole, dissect the minute and tiny parts, rearrange, rewrite and then try and stitch it all back up again.
- I attend author lectures, critique groups (Actually, I'm looking for one at the moment; I missed the one I was going to try out last night. Anyone local know of any?), and conferences. Two I'm excited about this summer are Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (I'm only doing the afternoon sessions; it would be too much time away from the kids otherwise.) and the Symposium on Books for Young Readers. It'll be fun to visit my old stomping grounds for that one:)
- I do tons of research (can you tell that's a map of Istanbul on my computer above?).
- I write and I write and I write. (That's a plot map and some character sketches below.)
I also find it really helpful to connect with likeminded people when trying to hang onto a dream. When I sit in a room of other lovers of the written word it just fills me up! After an event, whether a lecture, critique or reading, I always find myself eager to put pen to paper. Maybe I don't get to write every day like I want, but I feel like as long as I keep stoking the fire a little here and a little there, that when the time does open itself up, I'll still be ready to spill those stories onto paper.
So tell me, what are your secret dreams and aspirations? Sometimes it helps to say it out loud:)
PS The books in the top picture are some of my favorites for writing: Bird by Bird, On Writing, The Invisible Child, (The Ivy and Bean series is awesome and I was reading them as a great example of top notch chapter books, that's why they're in the stack:) Not pictured, but one I also really loved, is the book Feeling Like a Kid. It's written by a professor at Johns Hopkins and I found it really insightful and helpful. What other great books on writing should I know about?