Thursday, February 4, 2021

Jumpstart on Writing

Many of you know what a difficult time I've had after my shoulder surgery. Although I couldn't do much for the first two months, I was healing, though I couldn't tell at the time (too much pain). Physical therapy is when I started feeling it. Every week, a milestone! Music is what sustained me during those days, both listening and singing. Pain really and truly recedes when you are focused on something else. But I missed writing. And with limited energy/strength I wanted to save it for writing Christmas cards and letters to as many people as I could think of because how difficult the lockdowns have been for so many. After the kids left for school, I thought it's time to get back to my own creative writing projects. 


I was rusty and hated everything I wrote. I was more interested in cleaning house and tidying up because it was like PT--I could see results! And all the books I read only made me feel inadequate. Why bother writing? But I was missing it and getting crankier by the day. But luckily, I remembered Julianna Baggott had some things on creativity so I signed up for her 6 week course: Jumpstart. And also Efficient Creativity


What a difference it is to take a structured course, remembering why I am so desperate to write. She begins at the beginning--memories. This is the best $10 I've spent this year, the best thing I've done for my writing life in a long while. I don't usually suffer from writer's block but I knew something broke with that surgery.  

Julianna is amazing. I'd already read a few of her books. Why does she not have a book on process? I hope someday she writes one because she's a fantastic teacher. Her advice on musing/day-dreaming is gold. She also asks good questions and makes demands and as I was writing about my own process, I realized what a blessing the migraines have been. So yes, they prevented me from doing many things, but they afforded me that all-important time for daydreaming. Maybe this is why, when I could write, I was in a good place. I'd already done a lot of pre-writing imagining. 

Anyway, if Christmas holidays and lockdowns and kids at home all day have put a dent in your writing, I highly recommend you take Jumpstart and/or Efficient Creativity. You can do them at your own pace even though Julianna has them both structured for 6 weeks. Please do share in the comments what you do when you've gotten out of the writing habit, if you ever have had trouble writing. 

The Christmas cycle ended with Candlemas. We had a beautiful High Mass at Sacred Heart (Part 1 and Part 2) and it's already the season of Septuagesima--a three week preparation for Lent, which will arrive Feb. 17th. I love the traditional calendar for this period. Book group has started for Michael and they're reading Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed. I'm reading these other books. Capturing Music: the Story of Notation by Thomas Forrest Kelly is gorgeous. I might even begin to understand some of the markings on that last page that we sang for Candlemas :)



Mirka Breen said...

"...Pain really and truly recedes when you are focused on something else"

So true. I find I can write through emotional pain, (though not acute trauma) but physical pain is a whole different thing.
So glad you found a way back to creativity.

Vijaya said...

Back in Control by David Hanscom taught me how much this writing life mitigated those awful migraines. And it works for emotional pain too. I agree about the acute trauma--you have to heal from it before you can get on with life. We are so blessed to have this creative life.

Faith said...

I love the old notations. They take getting used to, but eventually they're easier to read! I'm grateful for our choir director who starts children off reading Gregorian chant...hopefully it won't be too much longer until we can all sing again.
Praying for your continued healing, and I can't wait to see what you're writing!

Vijaya said...

Faith, it astounds me that someone could even conceive of an idea to capture something ephermeral as music so that they could take it with them, share it with others. But it was bound to happen given that we have language. I hope you all will be able to sing again together soon. I realized that my two modes of prayer are silence and song and to be deprived of the latter was such a cross. Thank you for praying for me--the road to recovery is long. My librarian is 3 mo ahead of me so I always look forward to seeing what she can do now. She's 90% there. And writing, JOY!

Katie L. Carroll said...

Glad you've found your way back to it! It's been such a tough time to fit in writing.

Vijaya said...

Katie, I think even without the accident, most people I know have had a tough year. It feels good to play with words and stories and dreams again.