I’ve been taking a little break. I finished uni on the last day of May and took the opportunity to bask in the feeling of having little responsibility or expectation. I’ve spent my time reading and writing, and I love how words feel familiar to me again, like friends returning to one another after months apart.
While I don’t find my uni essays overwhelmingly difficult, it is different to creative writing and can become exhausting. If I’ve been working on an essay, I don’t then feel compelled to read or write, I just want to nap and drink tea. (Though neither of these are bad things; in fact, I highly recommend them on a regular basis.)
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on my blog, but as well as my dream to publish a novel, I would also love to publish a collection of poetry.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been compiling a word document that now has 72 poems.
Sometimes I struggle between knowing whether to put my energy into poetry or a novel, but as the past few weeks have been a holiday for me, I just followed what came naturally. And that was poetry. I wrote a few more pieces and had to be brutal about what was good enough for a book, deleting what didn’t fit. (Have no fear; all my poems are handwritten in notebooks. Years ago, after deleting all my short stories, I learned my lesson and now keep everything. So while a poem may not be published, I still have it in my possession.)
I still don’t really know what makes a poem good enough to be published. I suppose that’s what editors are for, if I ever reach the publication stage. (I have a feeling I will, though, maybe?) Regardless of what an editor thinks, however, I’m proud of my collection and really enjoy reading through it. Yes, I definitely think some poems are better than others. But I’m proud of what’s in that document.
Some poems haven’t been on this blog, as I wrote them specifically with the book in mind. Other poems were taken from this blog and were edited and refined and I wondered how I could have posted them online as they were.
The point is, though; I have been so happy creative writing lately. As much as I do enjoy uni (well, most of my classes), the freedom of these past few weeks has been a joy. I love being able to spend time writing, and reading, and allowing myself the time to do these things. I’ve made progress on my reading goal (last month I was 11 books behind, now I’m 7!) and rediscovered the beauty of writing.
This feeling matches when I first began to take writing seriously. When, after self-consciously posting poems online, I realised I wanted to keep sharing my work. When blogging became a highlight of my day, when sitting down to write became a beautiful gift I gave myself. When I began to edit my first novel rather than deleting it, when I gave it a chance and let it become a full piece of work, regardless of whether anyone ever reads it. I remember sitting in my room a few years ago and watching all these YouTube videos about writing, reading all these articles, trying to learn the art.
I still remember reading Stephen King’s (part memoir and part writing-advice book) On Writing, and feeling my brain soak every word up like a sponge. I still love that book. In part because of the fantastic, blunt writing tools, but also because I remember the first time I read it and how eager I was to live it out and apply it to my own writing. And from there, reading Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (in which he discusses running and writing; one of which I want to implement, the other I already have) and Rebecca Solnit’s A History of Walking. (This one may not sound like it has to do with writing, but it’s a large non-fiction book that, again, discusses one thing I already do [writing] and one I want to implement [walking] Although I actually have implemented walking now, so maybe I’m a better person than I thought I was.)
I still remember the excitement of waiting to receive feedback on my first uni assignment I ever submitted; a short story for a creative writing class. To date, that is still my favourite class I’ve done, and the hardest I’ve worked on an assignment. Even though I wanted to do well in that unit, more than anything I wanted the feedback. While being told what you’re doing wrong isn’t exactly pleasant (or being rejected after submitting a piece of writing), being able to work on what you’ve done wrong, being able to learn from it is undeniably one of the best feelings, to me. (I could perhaps apply this to life, as well; when someone confronts you about a way you’ve behaved poorly, as painful as it may be to hear, isn’t the feeling of everything being out in the open far better than the feeling of knowing you’ve done something wrong but not knowing what it is, or not knowing how to make things right?)
In truth, I don’t know what the future holds. (This comes as a shock.)
I have big dreams of publishing whatever I want; collections of poetry, novels, short stories. But I don’t know that I can do this. I don’t know if this will happen.
As I said earlier, I kind of have a feeling I will be published. But that’s because I feel called to writing, I feel like this is something God has given me. Writing is something I can’t not do; it happens, it must, I need to. So who knows. Maybe this blog is the only way my words will ever be ‘published’, or maybe one day I’ll figure out how to query like a professional.
I don’t know, I don’t know where writing will take me. But already it’s taken me to the best of places, and surely there’s more to come.