Sometimes, lots of times, really, writers tend to feel that we have lost the thread of that which keeps us together. Sometimes we call it writer’s block, sometimes resistance. Whatever name we might choose, it feels the same. We have missed a stitch, and our fabric is falling apart. What puts it back together? The answer is—continuing with whatever we are doing. We can’t wait for the inspiration to strike us, or it may not–ever.
We need to write daily—a poem, a journal entry, the story we’re working on, the article—whatever our chosen genre happens to be. Only then do we feel sane. Everything else becomes crazy. Only then have we picked up the stitch.
Seamstresses need the fabric in their hands. I’ve done that. I like to sew. In fact this year, my story, “The Life of a Dress,” was published in Good Old Days Magazine, in the May/June issue. I describe how my graduation dress became my wedding dress with an addition of a jacket. In this case, I mixed two things I love, writing and sewing, and came up with an article that was published. Truly that did feel wonderful. How rewarding it can be to have people come up and tell me they’ve seen the article I wrote!
However, resting on the laurels of publication, any publishing credit, cannot and does not give us what we need. What we need is the daily process—the daily practice of writing. I don’t practice what I preach all the time, maybe even a lot of the time I slip. But if we keep plugging along, we are writers and we will be keeping it together—one stitch at a time.
A couple of weeks ago, our group, The Watkins Glen Writers Group, which I co-founded and facilitate, celebrated twenty years of presenting a reading series that brings featured readers to our small community—Schuyler County. We were honored for making this contribution, for bringing a measure of culture to a community that might not have regularly had this kind of exposure to the literary and poetic world.
People who have been attending came to a small local theater setting and ate a potluck dinner together, and celebrated our success. Last Sunday, a friend and I went to Wheeler Hill to Michael Czarnecki’s home to attend an annual reading that occurs at his home. Michael and his wife run a small publishing company, FootHills Publishing that has been publishing a great number of books for poets over the years.
Again we broke bread and enjoyed a time of poetry and sharing in the outdoor sunshine. Pots of soup simmered on the wood cookstove and we looked out over the hills from the very top of Wheeler Hill while we listened to each other’s poetry. This is part of the keeping it stitched together. We inspire each other to keep going in what is often a lonely pursuit. Although sharing helps, what is really at the center of our creating a potential masterpiece is just keeping at it—daily and over the years. Writers need words in their heads and on the paper.