Writing in the Trenches

Here we are, a week into this Writer’s March, and still kicking!  7 days down and 24 more to go.  If you are joining us for the first time, it’s never too late to join in (to catch up on the original challenge, click HERE). There’s a good handful of challengers with goals ranging from 15 minutes a day to 5 hours a day, we’ve got people working on major projects (novels, memoirs, short story collections, book proposals), and varying levels of ambitious tasks (a poem a day, publishable pieces by the end of the month, the simple task of daily writing after a length of time of none, and more).  Let’s keep at it.

Week two seems like a good place to reassert your determination and to reassess your needs/goals.  By now you should know when you work best.  In the morning?  In the middle of the night?  And hopefully we’ve set some of our evasion strategies aside.   For this week, perhaps focus on building on your momentum and, most importantly, to not let your writing slide.

Daniel Mueller, one of my creative writing professors at UNM and the author of How Animals Mate, talks a lot about “Writing in the Trenches.”  Like many of you, he’s a busy man who works hard to squeeze his writing into his life.  Fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there.  Writing in the trenches means that you can write anywhere, even in the middle of a battle.  The idea: if want the time to write, it’s there.  Sometimes you just have to be stubborn/creative in your task of finding it.  And best thing about being a writer is we can work on our writing anywhere, even if its working things out inside our heads.

This in mind, a few hours ago, I asked Randi to pull me a Medicine Card.  Think Tarot, but based on a Native American foundation.  52 cards offering advice through a communing with various animals.  I love these cards.  I always find them amazingly accurate, particularly when I’m working on a creative project. (And a deck I highly, highly recommend if you are into this sort of thing.)  Here’s the card that I got, which felt like a good card to share with all of you:

It's the Antelope reversed

Among other things, here is what the Contrary Antelope advised:

A decision to start is now necessary.  The main element in procrastination is a lack of conviction.  To honor your chosen destiny is to honor your commitment to doing what you ‘proclaim’ you are doing. . . .

To right Contrary Antelope, three steps are necessary.

1.) Have the desire to do something

2.) Make the firm decision to begin that action

3.) Do it!”

Week one, for me, was productive week, but productive in time and not necessarily productive with the words.  I spent a lot of time staring at the walls, and now, I think I’ve got the “butt in the seat” part of this task down.  This week, I want to focus my attention back on the words.  More pen to the paper.  More fingers to the keyboard.

The time is now, right?  So come on.  Let’s write!

One thought on “Writing in the Trenches

  1. What a perfect card!–there’s a message for me in it too, though I’m sure you know that. I’m on track with my goals, so much so that I’m already mourning the coming of April, “the cruelest month” if you go by Eliot and “The Wasteland.” So Mardi Gras is tomorrow, Ash Wednesday follows, and I haven’t given up anything for Lent in so long because I have so little to give up (HA!). Anyway, I’m extending March into April, throughout Lent, and keeping my goals going. I hereby proclaim it. Now I’m going to do it.

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