I was going to start out by listing the numerous excuses I’ve fallen victim to when attempting to give my writing projects the focus they deserve, but doing so felt redundant, especially for anyone who has ever had to write something (have I left anyone out?). We’ve all been there before, and if you’re like me you’ve made multiple trips. And if you’ve never been there before, well, then you’re either lying (like my six year old son is now in the habit of doing) or you’re some kind of a saint. It truly is amazing how easy the excuses bounce around in my brain…if only the words had the same trajectory. Pausing the never-ending to-do list or convincing yourself not to obsess over Twitter and Facebook (how many new friends and followers do I have now?) are easy rabbit holes to fall into. Obviously the key is to avoid these holes in the first place, but this is one of those instances where it’s easier said than done (is that an excuse?).
I have to remind myself that just because I haven’t posted a blog entry on this site in three months (don’t worry, I’m shaking my head in disgust) doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I recently finished a ten week memoir writing course with Basement Writing Workshop that was taught by Kerry Cohen. I submitted four chapters for critique (the requirement was three) and received helpful feedback from Kerry and the other writers. Plus I was writing 2-3 critiques per week. I wrote a new entry for The 2 Dads blog titled, “STILL in Training!” which is part two of the pooping saga that continues in our home, even to this day — Jim just had an “incident” with our daughter in the past hour. There is enough material for a part three (and four, and five, and…), but I feel I need to space these entries out otherwise The 2 Dads blog turns into something entirely different. The next blog entry will be about the thirteen things (give or take) that people say or do that annoy me (and Jim) as a parent. Trust me, there are more than thirteen (way more), but I do have other writing projects to work on.
I recently signed up for another ten week online memoir writing class at Gotham Writers’ Workshop with Kyle Minor to continue working on my memoir, un.protected: a memoir of betrayal, bravery, and redemption. This class begins in mid-July and will be my sixth class (or maybe it’s my seventh?) with Gotham, but marks my first time working with Kyle. I find that taking online classes gets me into a rhythm with my writing and holds me accountable to due dates. I’m getting better with self-imposed deadlines, but at times an excuse, such as an overwhelming need to pick-up the dog poop before the gardener arrives, easily becomes the priority, which in the end only favors the gardener. (I promise this will be the last poop reference for a while.) I guess this is similar to tidying up the house before the cleaning person arrives so they don’t think you’re too big of a slob.
So the first step, at least for me, is to accept the reality that excuses will always be a part of the writing process, but hopefully will have less prominence. After all, it’s only one gardener who might have to walk around in the backyard like it’s a mine field, as opposed to hundreds, thousands, or maybe tens of thousands (I wish!), who will read what I have to say and be all too eager to offer up their critiques and judgments of my craft. I’m confident the gardener will come away unscathed.