I’ve been MIA. Gone. Sequestered. Minimal online activity. Maximum solitude.
And it was great.
A few weeks ago I decided to go on what I called my “Ernest Hemingway writing retreat”. My intention was to squirrel myself away, in isolation, for one week, to write…and write…and write…and write.
And I did.
I put no parameters on the writing. I simply let the words flow out of me, unedited and, to this date, unread. I allowed stream of consciousness to tumble out, and it felt so liberating and “dangerous”. What: no editing? No worrying about whether something made sense of not? Yeah…it was great.
I write best longhand, in lined journals, with my favourite pen in hand (although, when I blew that pen out of the water and had no refills, I had to resort to my back-up supply of pens. It took a little adjusting to the different feel and flow of the nib, but it was only a minor adjustment and nuisance.) I relate to what Amber Naslund said in a blog post about how she writes : “In the early stages of a concept when I’m still brainstorming or thinking, I *have* to do it on paper. I don’t totally understand why. But once I get something to a place where I can outline the major bits, I can start typing. Before that, it’s got to be pen on paper.”
That’s me for sure. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than sitting in a lovely spot, with a cup of coffee, allowing the writing muse to alight and write.
It was refreshing to write for the pure purpose of doing so. The goal was to have, on paper, whatever came to mind that week. And although I haven’t gone back to re-read it, I know it’s a smorgasbord of thought that I’ve tentatively entitled…ah, well that shall have to wait;)
The atmosphere was perfect for writing. I was alone. I had no one and nothing to be accountable to (although the lure of the laptop which sat idly on a table for most of the week did call me to action a few times…but only a few). I’d cleared my schedule, informed but a few of my intended absence, and simply disappeared. It was joyous.
And the stars had certainly lined up when, on my birthday, May 1st, the Toronto Star newspaper heralded the publication of The Hemingway Papers: a compilation of articles that Ernest Hemingway wrote during his time at the Star from 1920 – 1924. How much more prophetic could it get?
I think it’s a shame when I hear people say “I could never do that”, whatever “that” is. They have reasons. They have excuses. They get in their own way.
But the premise of all my work and coaching is simply this: when you decide…truly decide…you will do. Decisions are the foundation of action. When we waffle about, saying we’ll “try” (and you know me on that: Do or do not. There is no try. ~ Yoda), making excuses, finding obstacles (real or imagined) or having legitimate reasons for not doing something, we really haven’t made a decision. It’s still just porridge in our heads. Mushy thoughts stirring about.
I don’t yet know what I’ll do with the writing I’ve done, but I do know one thing for sure. I’m a writer. Yes, I’m a blogger, I’m a coach, a speaker, a mom, a wife and a myriad of other things, depending upon who’s labelling me. But what I know for sure for myself is this: I’m a writer. I’ve avoided and evaded claiming that for so long, it’s liberating to say it out loud.
What will the next chapter hold? I’m not really sure, but I’m letting the story unfold each day. I’m not concerned about flipping to the final page to see how it all turns out. For now, I’m content in rolling out my life page by page, living in the moment, and making decisions and doing, for each step along the way.
What is it that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t? Why not?
Do you believe that choice, not chance, determines your destiny?
What’s YOUR “Ernest Hemingway writing retreat”, and why aren’t you making it happen?