The Need to Write

I never feel the need to write more than when I’m stressed, wedged between responsibility and whim, on the edge of my own sanity. The semester begins and so do the stacks of papers to grade, classes to plan, committees to attend (and now, chair). That leaves little time for my own writing. The weekly essays I was getting out have halted, a screeching, smoke-building halt. I just don’t have time.

But I have to make time because that writing is what keeps me sane. It’s that simple.

So I’m stealing a few seconds between papers to come on here and blog. Because I don’t have the time to work on anything longer. Because my trips in quiet solitude (or Starbucks solitude) are too few now to allow me to type out anything longer than a couple paragraphs of meandering thoughts. Because I want to write these stories that are swimming in my mind, reminding me of their existence, but I don’t have the time to get them out. And it’s frustrating. Infuriatingly frustrating.

It’s not all gloom, however. In two weeks, I’ll be attending the Sanibel Island Writer’s Conference. I’m excited because I’ll finally have a few days to write – just write. I’m hoping to attend some workshops on memoir, fiction, and young adult fiction. Maybe poetry, too, if I can fit the schedule. But my main projects now involve memoir/personal essay, fiction and young adult fiction, so that’s where I hope to be. My hubby and son can enjoy the beaches and I’ll enjoy the writing. I’m also excited because I have a manuscript consultation. I prepared and sent out the 10-page scene of my father’s death and look forward to receiving feedback on it. At least I feel as if I’m getting some work done on my memoir.

I’m also waiting to hear back from Creative Nonfiction magazine and Brevity.com. I keep receiving rejections, but they haven’t kept me down. Each rejection I receive puts me that much closer to receiving an acceptance. It also makes me better. I take that rejected piece, review it again, revise further, and resubmit. Sometimes, the piece is finished, for me, so I just resubmit. I wanted to submit a couple more pieces to Narrative Magazine and Glimmer Train (among others), but I haven’t been able to work on those essays. We’ll see if I get to make the deadlines.

But right now, my priority is to keep the words moving, dancing on the screen (or the page). My anxiety/panic attack this week is a confirmation that I need an outlet for my stress, and while others need to exercise, I need to write. Somehow, someway, I need to make that time.

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