Over the last couple of years I’ve been finding my drive to write, slowing down. Last week was the first serious blog I’ve written in months. There are plenty of reasons – retiring, moving, pandemic …
All have conspired to change my habits and creative focus. Since I’ve been here in my new home, I’ve been focused more on making things for the yard, setting up my workshops and generally adjusting to being retired.
Oh, and finding a barber. A good barber is difficult to find. First there was the little thing where they were all forced to close and then the whole thing of do I dare sit that close to a person I don’t know. Scary. I’m happy to report that I have found a barber here and am scheduled for a hair cut this week. The price will be double what I paid in San Jose two years ago, but … I can’t stand having long hair.
I’ve written a few things in the last couple of years, but I still have two major writing projects that I haven’t made much progress on. Well, no real progress.
In 2017, I wrote a blog post on a poetry collection I’d started. The working title is, “The Lectionary Project.” I’m a horrible at titles so it could be years before I have a better title than that. Basically it’s a poetic response to the Gospel of Matthew. Yup, a spiritual exercise. I planned a total of 48 poems and so far have completed 14. Poem 14 took me a year and a half to write. I had hoped to complete the collection in 2023, but now I’ve revised that estimate to 2033.
I’m not one of the poets who just attacks the keyboard and has a poem fall out. Poems float in my mind for weeks, months, before they are ready for a first draft. Even then, I tend not to like my poems and end up spending months rewriting and refining. Last year I think I completed two poems.
It’s not really a problem, more just the way it is right now. I suppose I could change that if I spent more of my creative energy on it.
That’s the real thing – we only have so much creative energy in us and if you’re like me and have many creative outlets it can get – interesting. It’s simple, if I’m at the table saw cutting parts, I’m not writing and very little poetry happens when I’m cutting at the scroll saw. Balancing time between many things is the age old problem.
Rewards is another issue that comes up. There are a number of ways to get rewarded for what you do. The work itself is rewarding and I get a lot of personal satisfaction just finishing a marquetry piece or completing a blog post.
But it’s also nice to get positive feedback from others. I mean things like complements or comments on my blog. There’s nothing quite like pointing to something and telling a friend, “I made that.” I never sell my work so money isn’t a reward I work for.
Sometimes it’s emotionally difficult to work on something you get little or no reward for. Which is one big reason why writing often comes in last on my creative to do list. It’s also why most of my writing is focused here on my blog. I have over a thousand posts and WordPress says I’m closing in on 4,000 followers. An average post of mine will get 50 likes and a dozen comments. Nice comments – there are a great bunch of followers who stop by with nice supportive things to say. Thank you.
Not bad for 12 years of work here.
Every so often a bunch of you encourage me to submit my writing for publication. I take that as a great complement and sign that my work is appreciated. Great feeling, but it’s not realistic. I first submitted stories to science fiction magazines in the 80’s and in the last 6 or 7 years, I’ve sent a number of my poems out. I’ve never had one accepted. Hardly motivation to send more out. When you consider that in the literary world most publishers have started using Submittable and charging fees to submit your work, it gets even less motiving to spend money to get rejected. Sure there are magazines that don’t charge submission fees, but those are becoming more rare.
But here, on Andrew’s View of the Week, I can post something a dozen or folks will leave a comment and 40 or 50 people will press the like button. Not exactly world shaking, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there willing to read what I write. I like to consider this, “Self Publishing.”
And you know, for now, that’s enough.
So, will I write more? I do like the process of writing and using my little blog as a way to share my creative work, so yes, you’ll still be hearing from me.
But, the pizza is in the oven and the timer is about to buzz …