writing process

Weekend Writing Prompt -- June

A blog entry is forthcoming about my experience at Kenyon, but I need more time to let the ideas marinate. Almost as soon as I got back home, I dove into my current play and am up to my eyeballs in heavy revision. I'm so excited by the progress, but I just haven't been able to pull myself away to write about the experience. But I will!

Instead, I've decided to post a writing prompt. I've heard from some of you on Facebook, and it seems you're hungry for writing prompts. 

Redefining Success

I've always believed that a writer's success should be found in the act of writing rather than external validation. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with validation, but I have tried to find success in things that I have some control over: am I writing nearly every day and am I getting better in the craft from year to year? The first one requires some kind of writing discipline and process; the second one has to do with pushing myself to try new forms, new ideas, or new themes -- constantly challenging myself to exceed my grasp. 

I think for the most part this approach works for me. I practice it and I teach it to my students. But lately, I've been questioning this paradigm as the way in which I measure my success as a writer. What about those seasons in life when writing isn't possible? The time or the emotional energy just isn't there?

A Silent Writing Retreat

It’s Spring Break—finally!  Later this afternoon, I’m heading up to Signal Mountain to do a silent writing intensive.  It’s only for three days, but I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done.  While I’ve done three-day writing intensives, I’ve never done one in silence.  

The thought is frankly terrifying.  The only experience I’ve had with an extended period of silence did not go well.  I found myself in this situation unexpectedly, and it was like dropping off the face of the earth.  There were tears…

Writing Angst

Today I feel angst-y. I haven't had my usual writing time this week due to appointments of various kinds. Finally this morning I was going to have a couple of hours to write before going to teach writing. But my husband woke up with a viral respiratory infection. Poor guy. But yeah... Another morning of not writing. 

I think it's the feeling that there's so much to do - many of the applications to big contests are coming due soon, I'm in the middle of a really difficult revision on a play, I have a new play I'm also thinking about, and it's the part of the semester when I'm reading drafts from my students. 

And these are all good things. But today, there's the sense that my head's gonna explode if I can't get some large chunks of time to write. 

The real truth though is even if I had time to write today, all of the noise in my life right now may not lend itself to good writing. 

While I'm sure this sounds like I'm complaining, I say all of this to remind myself that days like this come. And the dissatisfaction I'm feeling about being stuck in my script and not having enough time and wanting desperately to write something that matters and resonates -- days like these can be followed by a period of productivity and breakthroughs. If I let it. If I can create some space where I can listen and get words on paper. 

Angst can be good. It's telling me, "Stacey, shut things off and get quiet and listen. You've got something to say that needs saying."