buy a blank notebook

Currently, I’m juggling several writing projects. What to write in the time I’ve allotted for my own work can be a challenge. Each piece needs something. There’s my favorite, a new novel; my least favorite, a book of personal essays on illness; and a TV pilot that would make more money than the rest. What should I work on? What do I want to work on? Which would be more of a success? Often, these answers are in competition. How do I choose?

When there’s a deadline with a check – that’s my first priority. After that, it’s tricky.

Sometimes, I work a little on each project to get traction. A piece gets louder when it needs more attention. Other times, I focus on just one and see it to the end - even when I don’t want to (like the personal essays on illness).

How do you honor what you feel you want to write while building the wisdom to see what work you’re avoiding and get back into it?

Just last week, I picked up a sketch book and started making notes again. What I've found thus far is really interesting. Journaling paved a road for me to move from the mundane world (laundry, chores, how will I pay rent?) and into a deeper world (blue sky, mosquito bite on elbow, why didn’t I foster a baby? “I’ll have the plain bagel,” the homeless woman said through my open window at the stoplight before the freeway onramp).

The act of putting my ever-constant thoughts onto the page - what I saw that day, what I overheard, how I felt about that conversation with my boyfriend's son, why I was avoiding the writing– cleared the detritus and calmed my mind. And then, I went back to work.

This first week of journaling opened a door into writing about a painful subject. I walked through the door and finished the personal essay I had been avoiding. Later, I read it aloud in my writing group.

My recommendation:

Buy a blank notebook and a pen. Carry them around with you. Jot down notes.

See what happens.

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