Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

And finish things. Then start new things. Then finish them.

That’s the advice Neil Gaiman wrote down for me in a little blank book.

every damn day01

It’s good advice, particularly in combination with Terry Pratchett’s advice from the same book: “30 minutes every day! Every damn day!”every damn day

The last several months of last year, i.e. the time I wasn’t updating this blog, feel like a bit of a blur. I’m not sure, on first mental glance, what I spent those months doing. I did quite a bit of teaching. I did half of a NaNoWriMo and got 26K words before sputtering to a halt. I really like the story I’m working on, I just…stopped. I’m not sure why, or what I was doing. And instead of over-analyzing what happened, I’d like to get back on the horse and ride. For half an hour. Every damn day.

Aside from writing, I’d like to actually commit time to reading paper books, rather than assuming it’ll just happen by osmosis like it does for reading online articles. Much of this blog may just end up being me responding to reading and/or highlighting craft techniques from books I’m reading. In my MFA at Goddard, we had to write a seemingly infinite of short papers, called annotations, wherein we picked out one craft aspect of a book and did a close study of how it worked. Some found annotations tedious, but I thought they were incredibly useful. At the same time, they’re nothing I’d really choose to do on my own without some external something, i.e. grad school. Or a blog. There are a lot of books, furthermore, that I started in 2015 and didn’t finish. So I’d like to finish those. And then start new ones. And then finish them.

So here I am, again making my way back to the page with my tail between my legs. It’s easy to beat myself up for taking a fallow period because beating myself up about stuff feels very Useful and Virtuous, when in fact it is neither. The page isn’t judging. Or going anywhere. That’s the beautiful part of a writing practice: you can always come back. You can’t go home again, as they say, and you can’t cross the same river twice…but you can always come back to the page and finish things. Then start new things. Then finish them.

 

2 Comments

  1. So timely, this message is! And, it is one that I keep revisiting. Only this year, I have a large piece of butcher paper where I am LISTING ALL the things I finish, even the ones that need to be finished again and again. Hopefully this process allows me to put my personal whips away (yet again), and enjoy both fallow time (ESSENTIAL for personal creativity) and stepping in the river again. Sigh. At least I feel that I am functioning on a higher level of my evolutionary spiral.

    • Anne Bean

      January 4, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      I really like the idea of listing all things you finish. Seems like a good, gentle blanket to drape over the little voice that tells you that you Haven’t Done Enough.

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