Course Corrections

This is one of those posts I started several times, erased, started over, thought about, thought about skipping, realized I was out of writing quotes I had not used yet, muttered bad words, etc. I ingested candy corn, which I have recently discovered I do not hate, learned the hard way that the maker of said candy corn does matter (live and learn, right?) checked on under-the-weather-family member, almost tripped over Skye, almost tripped over Skye, almost tripped over Skye (cat people, you know how that goes) and finally came to the conclusion that this is One of Those Days.

We all have them. In my case, day could have gone on Schedule A or Schedule B, but life happened, and we ended up going on Schedule C, which meant no schedule, because nobody had counted on Schedule C, and I Hate Days With No Schedule. Hate, hate, double hate. Seriously bothers me to the point of irritability. Can I get a ballpark figure on when anybody wants lunch at least? Desired menu items? Give me something, people? No, nothing? Oookay. This is why I have an office (which does not, contrary to popular belief translate to “storage area.” We’re working on that.)

I work on a daily to-do list, which makes time a lot easier to manage. Days like this require course correction. Grousing about how things are not going the way I wanted them to go only takes me so far. It does not get the current ms written or the completed one edited, nor does it write blog entries. If there is one writing related thing on my list that I can control today, it is getting this blog entry written and posted. Sometimes, life is going to get chaotic, and the only sane thing to do is to call a time out. For me, that means getting away from the chaos and retreating behind office door. One of these days, I am going to have to make a new Writing Cave sign. Even on days when I’m not able to get to the keyboard, I can write in my longhand notebooks, both all purpose and for each project. Staying in touch with the stories that way and the discipline of putting pen to paper helps a lot on days like this.

Creativity starts, for me, with showing up. Butt in chair, pen on paper, and, as a former writing group facilitator often said, the process begets the product. In short, get the pen on the paper, keep it moving, and content will come. I’ve found that almost always works. Sometimes, trusting ourselves as writers is scary business, hypercritical gremlins picking at our clothes and whispering in our ears how we’re not good enough, they’ll all know we’re only faking it, don’t quit the day job, other writers do it better, and, in fact, so well that there’s no need for us. They’re wrong, of course, but we still hear them, and it’s still a big nuisance.

The notebooks in today’s picture were all purchased or received with love, and begun with good intentions, whether attached to a particular project or as an all-purpose book. Each one of them has some to several pages, but not more than 25% (math is not my strong suit, so probably an even lower number than that) filled with…something. Either I realized I was going in the wrong direction, that book wasn’t as good a fit for its intended content as I thought it was at first glance, or I flat out wasn’t feeling it anymore. In any event, there they sat, stuffed out of the way so I wouldn’t be reminded of Yet Another Failure.

Until today. There I was, at my desk, casting about for something to photograph, and there was the tiny pink Moleskine, my attempt to satisfy my longing for its full size version (and to be a handy dandy reference for one of those back burner historicals.) This led to the spiral pink notebook (similar reason) and the red-violet with the silver heart (too cool on the inside, with blank and lined pages both) and the blue deconstructed Studio Oh! book that I started using as a catchall book for Her Last First Kiss, then set aside when I found the right one. The Papaya! Art “Fearless” (hah) book that I’d forced myself to write anything in, then abandoned because that felt forced and plain and downright disheartening…you see the pattern here. I did, too, and stared down this sampling of notebooks that didn’t  (not the only ones, by any chance) and had a revelation. They weren’t ruined forever.

Nope. What are we talking here, a few pages? I love all these books. They’re pretty. Why do they have to be abandoned because I made a mistake or two in the early pages? News flash: they don’t. It’s okay to rip or cut pages out, glue them shut, staple, tape or paper clip them together if I think I might want to refer to them in the future, and start all over, fresh and brand new. I’d be thrilled if I were to receive brand new copies of these as gifts, so why not give them to myself? I can start fresh and fill them with the sort of art and writing I do now. I like that idea.

If that can be true about the physical notebooks themselves, it can also be true of the stories that go inside them. Okay, my first try at Book X didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I walked away, or it did. Maybe we decided on a mutual break, but there are still some parts, a character, an idea, a relationship, a setting, whatever, that hasn’t gone away, no matter how deeply I tried to bury it. Why not take that bit and make it into something new? What would I be losing? Nothing. What do I have to gain? Books, my friends. Big, sprawling tales of love long ago, and happily ever afters for all.

Sometimes, course corrections can take us to where we were always meant to be.

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