Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Write Yourself Sane/Happy/Free!!

Dark and grey, the clouds outside promise rain I wish I could parcel up to send back to South Africa - especially to Grahamstown where there have even been umbrella-email prayer requests for rain. (No pun on 'umbrella' intended...) Perhaps, and with frantic hope beating in my chest, spring might come early this year!

This week is going to see me writing the following:
1. My first article for iMod.
2. Setting up my new food blog (hmmm... going to keep you guessing!)
3. Writing my first magazine article for actual submission - which means, potentially, actual rejection. But I feel strong enough to understand this as an inevitable part of the process of writing/being published. And so, with all this fabulousness planned, let's just hope Lady Time will be kind to me!

Something I've learned about writing and blogging in the last two weeks has been this: it pays to be opinionated and brutally original. This I discovered after checking out all the winning blogs in various countries. And to be honest - some of them were quite, quite crap! But that's besides the point. The point is this: it is simply not worth your time and creative energy to be a nice fence-sitter. (Hours and hours pass, during which I cuddle, soothe and sing to HRM, tugging at her ears and yelping at random moments from what can only be teething pain...) Since I managed to jot down those last few words, I received the most fabulous surprise in my inbox: the production editor for The South African invited me to write an article for their Homecoming section! I was so flipping excited that I IMMEDIATELY forwarded the email to my mom and dad -- but refrained, this time, from slathering it all over my Facebook. But how absolutely fantastic is THAT?! (Maybe now even I can donate towards my own Netbook Fund!!

When I first started writing, I wouldn't even have called it that. Writing seemed like such a lofty, elite pursuit - whilst all I did was scrawl out my angst in longhand, recording everything from ideas for paintings to grocery lists. Behind this tedious but magical daily act is the idea, explained by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way, that these 'Morning Pages' (three A4 pages written out in longhand each morning) help us show ourselves the way when we're feeling lost. They also help us resolve inner and outer conflicts. They suggest solutions to all sorts of problems, whether practical or metaphysical. For me, one of the most miraculous benefits was that it helped me to find myself. To hear my truest voice above all the din and racket of my 'critics' (i.e. I'd allowed all sorts people to inhabit my head/heart-space: from my aggressively petty high-school art teacher to critical (jealous) friends.) Writing also helped me to survive an abusive marriage - and, in the end, escape! Louise de Salvo has gathered together an enormous amount of data proving the thesis that writing heals - and not merely psychologically, but physically as well. De Salvo, mind you, postulates that it is a certain kind of writing that has this effect. Merely bitching about your cranky mother-in-law day after day is not the kind of writing that heals!! Whilst describing the facts of a negative/destructive moment, one needs to tell it with a strongly narrative logic, as well as attaching your emotions to the facts. Anyway, I'm blathering - and it took me three days to write this post (!!) so I am going to take a bit of a breather and treat myself to another Julia Cameron trick: an Artist Date - to fill up the gaping morass from which I pour forth myself into my writing (oh, so dramatic!) and firstly, have a two-hour, lazy midday nap with LaylaRose, and then read some Ted Hughes poetry inbetween entertaining HRM with nursery rhymes and kisses!


Laura said...

Good luck on your first article for iMod. I sent in my first for Examiner this week. :)

Lisa said...

Thanks, Laura! Straight back atcha ;)