Perhaps one of the reasons I’ve struggled so much with my identity as a writer is I don’t practice. I write to complete a project, a blog post, or a story. When Inspiration bubbles up, I’ll often do a freewrite, but that’s about it. No consistent practice.
I was talking with my dear friend Kat (who has started a tarot blog, please have a look!), who asked if I had ever read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. I am a thousand percent sure someone has quoted her or this book before, but I haven’t read it myself, so I bought a copy and eagerly awaited its arrival.
(We hear a lot about thanking people in healthcare, grocery and pharmacy employees, and cleaners and sanitation workers; let’s please not forget our mail carriers who are working harder than ever during this unprecedented time of staying at home.)
In her introduction, Goldberg invites readers to pick up anywhere, read the book start to finish, whatever works for them. The book is a collection of essays on writing, not only the putting of words on paper but the entire mental process in which we reflect on ideas. I’ve known for a while that a lot of my “writing” takes place in my head, and I need to sleep on major edits; now I’m working my way through this book putting language to concepts I am only beginning to touch.
She also insists on practice, which is a thing I knew writers did, but I never understood how I might do the same. Goldberg provides a variety of ideas for a writer seeking to practice, and though I’m still making my way through her book, I have made time (almost) every day to sit down and put my thoughts down.
In doing so, I quickly ran into a barrier.
I like to write at a desk, because otherwise I’m pretzeled in my bed or on a sofa and cricks begin to develop and I groan and crack and feel like I’m falling apart. However, my desk is the tiny thing I bought for my studio apartment in Parc Ex and can barely fit my laptop, monitor, and a notebook to scribble in. I felt entirely too cramped.
I spent a good three hours assembling and arranging most of what you see here: a larger desk surface, actual organizational space, and the printer out of the way. Right now, I’m enjoying birdsong and natural light (on both sides, I got mirrors!) and a home office space that is really pleasant to be in. My writing practice has never been so smooth, and I have some interesting phrases to look at later.
I will continue to practice, which will help me to work, which will give me something to come here and write about. I say that as if I don’t have news to catch up on, but that has to be another post. I’ll be back Thursday at 5:00pm EDT.