Well, I’m pleased to have made it to my first monthly milestone! I’ve written 31 pieces, one for every day of January and I’ve already raised some money for Shelter. Thank you to everyone who has followed, liked, commented and donated so far. Only 11 months to go to hit my target. I don’t want to do the maths on how many more pieces of writing that is. A lot. Okay, it’s 333 after this one… deep breaths.
I’ve learned a lot so far and I hope to learn a lot more yet. I’ve learned about how to create the right conditions for writing, how to make space for creative work and how to incorporate it into my life and routine. In yesterday’s piece ‘How to catch a poem,’ I wrote of the need sometimes to be still and to listen to the world. I have been practising meditation for a couple of years and this has definitely helped to expand my awareness and teach me about stillness, but my experience as a whole so far has been about learning to balance that stillness with a very particular kind of action.
I’ve found I have to make space for stillness to let ideas come to me, but then the second they do, I have to jump up like a ninja and catch them before they disappear. Later, I take the heap of words, thoughts, images, impressions and ideas I’ve collected and I wrestle them into some sort of shape. It’s … physical. The last half-hour before my midnight daily posting deadline is like a frantic game of Jenga, with me shifting words here, there and everywhere in the hope of making something that feels complete, finished, done.
‘Done’ has sometimes been a difficult concept for me. I have been for years the kind of writer who is capable of writing, deleting, re-writing the same opening sentence for hours and having nothing at the end of it. I’m certain that without that midnight deadline, I’d be sitting here, a pumpkin, with nothing to show for all my efforts.
It has at times been tempting to go back and re-edit work that I know I can improve with more time, but I haven’t allowed myself to do that because this is not that kind of project. It’s about finishing and moving on to the next thing. More than that, though, it’s about letting things be just what they are and celebrating them for that.
Here is tonight’s very short poem:
Work harder, hard worker
Or you’ll never know
Sit stiller, still sitter
Just 333 days to go.
And the reason it is so short, I will tell you, is because I’m producing a beautiful play called Constellations by Nick Payne for Wonderhouse Theatre and tonight’s production meeting ran very late. It’s a story of love, honey and a quantum multiverse and it’s on from 20th – 25th Feb at the Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats, Manchester. Come and see it! You can get tickets here: http://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/constellations/