“Don’t worry about your talent or capability: that will grow as you practice.” – Natalie Goldberg, from Writing Down the Bones.
In this chapter, she is talking about the fact that we do not read a book on exercise to lose weight, we exercise. We do not read about writing in order to get better at writing. We write. We read other’s writings, for sure. We familiarize ourselves with the greatness of the written word in general, and some people’s sheer brilliance at it specifically, and we let it inspire us, not cripple us. We then go, and Write!
Every step we take down our path as a writer, we are becoming more convinced of our skills. We are stepping out in faith, pen in hand, or these days, fingers at the keys, and we are writing.
This year is starting out well for me, with lots of scheduled writing times. At this point, I do not have a clear picture in mind of a writing goal, other than to be writing every day no matter what. My voice will come out of the practice. My goal will wake me up one morning, and I will know what I want to do. But really, I don’t need a goal of being published to make me want to continue honing my skills.
Poetry is in my heart. It is how I view the world. I am rusty after the last few years of running the family business, and bearing two little children, and all the busyness that comes with all of that. We are embarking on a couple of other very large projects. Yes, my time will feel strained. I will feel like scrapping my few minutes I dedicate to writing, and at this point in my life, I will ignore that impulse and stick to the more balanced, larger, deeper, older, wiser impulse to continue writing. It’s only 20 minutes at night after the kids go to bed, or a few more early in the morning before anyone is awake. Nothing will fall apart if I stop for these few minutes to write and bring my heart and soul into a place of balance. Many things may fall apart if I don’t take these minutes to steady myself and keep myself centered through putting words on paper.
Soon then, a poem will surface. Words are burbling just under the surface. Percolating. Brewing. Coming to fruition. Calmness and focus and a still mind will bring them about.
Every day. I write.
What are your writing goals for 2012? Are they firm and written down, or are they still coming into focus in your mind?
Photo from here.