(it's not too late to start writing small stones - join us)
A couple of things to let you know about. I'm giving away a copy of The Productive Writer by the very marvellous Sage Cohen on my blog later today - just leave a comment if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this amazing book. I interviewed her a few days ago, here.
And I'm going to be running an e-course on Writing as Spiritual Practice during March - if you're interested in the links between writing and clear-seeing, perseverance, praise and faith then read more here. It'd be lovely to have you accompany me on the journey we'll be taking.
I was trawling back through my blog Planting Words today and I found this piece on not having the foggiest. I think it is helpful for us to try and find that place of not knowing in order to write small stones - Suzuki Shunryu's beginner's mind. But not knowing (Keats' negative capability) can be an alien and discomforting place to rest. How good are you at not knowing? How often does certainty rush in (prematurely) to fill the gaps?
Yesterday afternoon I decided to make a path between my vegetable patch beds by putting down weed suppressing membrane and covering it with bark chip.
I didn't have the foggiest idea what I was doing. I didn't know if I was strong enough to get the five bags of bark chip into my car. I didn't know how to attach the membrane to the soil. I didn't know if the whole project was a waste of time - if my path would be a complete failure.
It reminded me of starting my first novel, Thaw. I didn't know anything about writing fiction. I hadn't read any how-to books or taken any classes. I didn't know anyone writing novels. I'd read prodigiously all my life and written poetry for years, but had never put more than a few hundred words together, never mind eighty thousand.
The only way to approach it without scaring myself half to death was by calling it an experiment. I decided to write 1000 words a day and just see where I got to. This is how I felt about my vegetable patch project yesterday and, now I come to think of it, about most of my life.
The path is finished - it looks a little raggedy, but it's functional. I'm rather proud of it. I'm currently working on my fourth novel, and I still don't have the foggiest idea about what I'm doing or how it will turn out. Isn't it fun?!