On Writing Down the Bones

“I feel very rich when I have time to write and very poor when I get a regular paycheck and no time to work at my real work.”
-Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

The wind is wicked today, and temperatures have dropped. Another autumn is gone and winter is in full Colorado form. It’s the perfect day to sit in front of the fireplace with a steamy hot drink, reflecting on my hot new relationship with blogging. I’m smiling, so that’s something. I can’t remember the last time I felt this level of satisfaction. I finally just did it. I put pen to paper every day. It didn’t matter what I wrote, who read, what genre or subject emerged, I just wrote, and people did read.

Thank you, people. I appreciate you all peeking in. 

Looking back over my week of blogs, I realized I built a creative scrapbook of words and photos from my world,  and I couldn’t help but think of Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones. I jumped up and pulled it off the shelf to read it again:

“WRITERS LIVE TWICE. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there’s another part of them that they have been training.  The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it.”

What a phenomenal truth. I was worried I wouldn’t have anything to write about or the time to say it well. I definitely had my moments of panic (frantically posting before midnight on Thursday), but when I returned to my day, I found something in the menial tasks to write about, even the frustration of limited vocabulary. On further reflection, those menial tasks were the highlights of my life over the last week: (Monday) thinking about my transitions, (Tuesday) reading a great line from a book, (Wednesday) sharing and hearing the remarkable stories of twelve other women around dinner, (Thursday) frustrations with vocabulary, (Friday) talking God and philosophy with a great friend, and (Saturday) driving through an unexpected snow storm with my sweetheart.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt desperation and frustration. At times I felt my words were empty and worthless, but when I broke through all of that insecurity, I felt awe and surprise at what I was seeing in myself through my own words, at what I was seeing in my life.  In the chaos and trauma, I sometimes forget I have a truly beautiful life.  Life is the smallest of moments and I have a record.

On the other side of blogging, I have discovered some great reading that has inspired me.  The work so many of you have put into your craft motivates me to write more.  I’d like to highlight a few of the blogs I’m enjoying, in case you’re looking for some additional good reads:

  1. Retkon Poet has an impressive pen and uses this gift to save lives.
  2. Notalentforcertainty offers us not one, but three verses a day, and this man is never lacking on subject matter.
  3. A Writer’s Path by theryanlanz is the cat’s meow on writing tips, information and advice.

As I move into week two, I’m still not sure if I will be able to fill this commitment to myself and pen. I am drowning in unfinished projects. A single mom with three teenagers (one severely disabled), and a full-time job will try to discourage me, I’m sure. The idea of finding time to write every day still feels ludicrous. But last weekend, I couldn’t help but think, if not now, when?  And so here I am at the end of my first week, which I understand this is so trivial compared to some of the amazing blogs I’ve found this week, but I feel rich, and I’m looking forward to the meaningful work.


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