I'm celebrating! I just finished the essay I was grumbling and fretting and trying to keep calm about a few posts ago. (It'll be in an anthology about faith edited by Victoria Zackheim and published next year by Simon and Schuster.)
You go through such doubt and chaos before you find what you're really writing about in an essay - or in a novel, or a poem, or whatever it is you're writing. Or at least I do. And you just have to get on with it and write no matter how hard or awful it is. And then, more often than not, one day all the dots start connecting, and you see what you're really writing about and how it all comes together. And you realize why it is you write, and how lucky you are to do it, and you run around feeling fabulous – until you get another idea to write about and then it starts all over again.
A beautiful quote from a poem by Marge Piercy: The pitcher cries for water to carry/and a person for work that is real.
There is no work more real than writing.
The UCLA Extension's Writers Studio is coming up next month. Four days of boot camp for writers, ten courses, some on film, others on novels and memoir. My course is called "Courage and Craft" and there's one space left. Here's my official brochure description of it:
“My job is to help you discover your stories and then get you out of your own way so you can transform those stories into fiction or non-fiction. I also give some practical guidelines for craft and create an atmosphere where students can feel safe to write the truth of their lives or feel free to create a fictional reality. There’s nothing until there’s something on the page, so there’s a lot of writing in my workshops. I love doing this in the intense four days of the Writers Studio. There’s such energy, focus, and camaraderie. Four days devoted to your writing can give you the tools and momentum to finish your book or your essays, and also the chance to become part of a lively and connected writing community.”
For more information please get in touch with the Writers' Program at UCLA Extension.