(I loved Reverb10, where I was sent a writing prompt every day of December. It was a great way to reflect on the year and set some goals. Alas, Reverb11 is not going to happen unless I do it. So, I’ve collected the prompts from last year, exchanged a few of my own, and will select one every day.)
Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
I do a lot of writing every day. I blog. I write tactful e-mails. I mentor young poets. I write lovely letters of recommendation. Funny Facebook updates for personal and professional accounts. Blurbs. I help teenagers with their essays. I re-write recipes. Notes. Presentations. Reviews.
It’s all really good stuff. It’s just not the kind I want to be doing.
My mother said something to me this year that’s been stuck in my head. I had read her a letter of recommendation I wrote to get a second opinion. She loved it and said “You know, its funny. I minored in creative writing in college, and you majored in it. But I ended up being really good at writing “This Shit Has Got To Stop” memos and re-wrote manuals that get used all over the world. You write beautiful letters of recommendation that I am sure help kids get into college. We used our skills and training, just not in ways we’d imagined.” My mother firmly believes that everything in life is a prerequisite for something else, and I do think she’s right. But, but…
I’d like to also write things for me. Not just blog posts and letters. Fiction. The stories in my head. I can’t get rid of all the writing I do – it puts food on the table. But perhaps in 2012 I can squeeze a little more writing out? Just for me. Just a little bit…
PS. Last year I wrote this.