I'm in a humor writing class right now and on day one, we were asked to declare our daily, monthly and 6-month writing goals. Seemingly an easy challenge, right?
My first thought was to resurface a story I'd started last Fall, about a little girl named Paola and her spirit animal friend Drishti, the camel. A young adult novel inspired by the painting over our fireplace.
I'd spent 8,773 words and a good number of hours getting to know the two characters. I fell in love with their struggles and worked tirelessly to build their legacy. They were alive and well in my heart and on the page. And most importantly, I was proud of the work.
Since January though, Paola and Drishti have been left in silent hope that I'd come back to complete their story. It's July now, and I haven't written a word.
I figured this writing class was the motivation I needed to complete what I'd begun. After all, I couldn't just quit a project I started, right? That would be...irresponsible. And what if the spark of creative "genius" that lit me up through those weeks last Fall got fed up waiting and left in search of a more disciplined writer? Someone with bigger and better ideas and a commitment to finishing her piece.
The thought of walking away tore me up inside. I felt like a negligent parent.
I brought a chapter of the story to my humor class the other day, determined to reignite and push it forward. My peers had read it in advance and were ready to share feedback with me on the spot. There are three writers in the class. My story and I went last.
I'm not going to lie: that workshop was a little rough. Not because my classmates weren't supportive. Not because they didn't have wonderful insight and gracious compliments and encouragement. Because they very much did. It was rough because I realized, with some sadness, that it was time to step away from my story, and move on to something new.
I talked this over with my teacher and accomplished writer, Pamela Alma Weymouth, after class. She had been down this road before, and identified with my fear of abandoning the work. Pamela reminded me that the story served its purpose when I wrote it last Fall - to refuel my creative writing - but that at this point, maybe it's time to let it go.
Since class, I've been meditating on this idea and I think she's right. When I consider diving back into my piece, I don't feel as lit up as I do when I consider other writing.
g projects: humor essays, blog posts, solo performance scripts, the draft of my children's story. And that's okay. It's part of the process.
So goodbye for now sweet Paola and Drishti. I'm in deep gratitude for your gift of creative rediscovery. You got me writing again and I love you for that. May your story fall onto someone else's page; a spark of genius to a very lucky writer somewhere.