My Writing Day

MY TYPICAL WRITING DAY? WELL, IT USUALLY STARTS IN THE MORNING

But today it didn’t. And come to think of it – it is rare to get to the page every morning – but that is the aim. Before I run out of energy, time or inclination, I like to schedule writing time at the beginning of the day. But I had to go to an appointment this morning, so writing was delayed till the afternoon. 

walking over slabs
      of ice to our parked Yaris
            city sparrows sing

***

THERE IS SO MUCH HOPE NESTLED IN MY PLAN TO WRITE

But when it finally comes down to putting pen to page – I’m already doubting how much can be done. I mean writing isn’t a linear journey. It’s not as if I can plan to write a poem in an afternoon – writing has a mind of its own – or at least poetry does.

There seems to be a contradiction at work when it comes to putting aside time to write. Even a half hour devoted to writing makes a huge difference – but in the same moment I’m appreciating that I’m able to prioritize writing in my day – there’s another spiny part saying writing takes forever and there never is enough time.

          thinking about writing
                 is not writing – although it’s
                       often more pleasant

***

NO ALARM IS SET

Breakfast in the living room with my husband Mike – we talk leisurely – we like to savour this time. Sometimes long talks ensue and we read to each other. Then chores. Then the day proceeds around me as I write.

          I fear not getting
               what I need out of this hard
                     stone of daylight

***

MY DAY CONSISTS OF JUST KEEPING MY HAND IN

I gather words, fragments, and entry points into what hopefully will become a poem at some point. When there is no sense of urgency and no new draft to work on – I’m kind of skulking around for the next thing.

At some point during a day – I have a plan to write, to read, to get the fires burning again. Of course that doesn’t always happen.

          in my home office
                 I print up today’s work
                      alone with the dog

***

WHEN SOMETHING DOES CATCH FIRE, I RUN WITH IT

I often want to table all my responsibilities and just write for a few days straight – but I never plan it – it just happens.

The other day I was innocently coming to a dead end with a poem. I’d been trying “to gather a poem,” compiling word lists, trying different forms, rhythms, and I was just about to give up. I can’t write this. It’s not happening. It was about 10 a.m. and Mike was headed to an audition (yes, an actor and a writer in one household!) and I read him a poem (not one of mine) from a favourite anthology. And then somehow this poet’s poem gave me permission to write what I needed to write. The whole first draft poured out in a few minutes. I was so elated and surprised and then I did table everything else in my life to spend time with this draft and complete it. I spent all day – and all night till about 5 a.m. in the morning working on it.

          being driven by
               a poem is a
                    bumpy ride

***

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING IN THE WAY

Chores present themselves and so does my freelance work, so sometimes I don’t set to dabbling/scribbling/musing until late afternoon.

I close the bedroom door, saying not now, when asked to walk the dog.

night darkens the room,
      maybe we should enjoy it:
             Friday wine awaits

Previously published at Rob McLennan's Blog

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