Sunday, December 21, 2014

Writing Short-Writing Long




Darkness unfolds like a cape over the earth turning the sky a deep blue and draining color from every object outside my window. The dark trees are illumined with holiday lights and inflatable Santas and snowmen decorate the front lawns of neighborhood houses. In my writing room I am gearing up for the coming new year.

Today, being the first day of winter, seems like the perfect time to make my writing plans for 2015 and they are many and varied. The novel is taking a back seat to some other writing projects and upcoming online classes as I assess the things I want to do with my writing life in conjunction with the amount of time I have to spend on each work-in-progress.

The classes that line up for January include a six month long memoir course, a course in getting short stories published (because it's time I sent out my little flash fiction darlings to some journals so they can grow up in the world of literature,) and a journaling class with Amber Starfire. This class will facilitate deeper journaling which is something I need to do. I spend too many pages in my large number of spiral notebooks complaining and it's time to go deeper. I think deeper journaling will guide me to some places I need to go in order to write the memoir.

Projects that are now organized in binders and notebooks on my desk, waiting to be finished include two chapbooks of flash fiction that I will enter in the Rose Metal Press chapbook contest in November. A connected series of prose poems for another contest from Rose Metal Press. That one is due in May so I really need to set a daily quota and get going--though I have a general outline of where the poems need to go, a poetry collection and of course the memoir.

I feel nature deprived this time of year and longingly await longer days and more sunshine. I'm hoping to get outdoors over the holiday break from work and rejuvenate myself so I can get busy with writing.

Though some of these projects are up to 50 pages long, the poetry collection closer to 100 pages and the memoir is book length, with the course requiring a total of 60,000 words by the end of the course in June, I have lots to do. I would like to write the memoir as a series of flash memoir pieces complete in themselves yet connected by an overall plot arc. Here's why:

I love to write short. I initially only wrote poetry when I started writing as a little girl and so I have a penchant for short pieces where I can finish a first draft in one sitting, then go back and revise it a few times and feel like I accomplished something. So different with a novel where the first draft alone seems to go on forever, never getting completed. And then comes many revisions before it can even be shown in the light of day.

So in 2015 I am reverting to writing short. To my poems and flash fiction and to flash memoir to compile a book. I have to have a "can-do" attitude and make sure I don't let stress or exhaustion from work keep me away from my writing desk. For it is at my desk, with a pen in my hand and notebook opened to a blank page, that I become totally myself.