As tends to happen in spring, things grow. Along with the flowers and weeds, my family responsibilities are taking me away from both writing and the group for a while - at least until late summer or fall. One of the remarkable things dragging me off this spring is watching my oldest son compete in several regattas with the Island Lake Rowing Club. He is a second-year (junior) rower and today I had the pleasure of watching (from VERY close up in a coach boat) his strength and determination while he and his teammates, who are juniors, race a boat load of seniors. True, the younger team had a 20 second head start, but they gritted their teeth and actually tied the older team. A first for them this season.
What amazed me the most about being on the lake was that time stood still. The swallows still swooped, the boats still moved and the water still jostled us, but it seemed like we were out there for hours when it was only one hour. It seemed like we had circumnavigated the globe at top speed, yet it was only a few kilometres. How deceiving.
Writing is a lot like that. How many days have I written dozens of pages only to discover it's only been an hour since I sat down? There are times when things go smoothly and the words flow like honey from our fingers. Of course, there are many other days when we push so hard that we hit the wall. I saw an example of that today as well. One of the rowers pushed himself so hard that he literally collapsed. Those are the days that we need to, as the rower did, sit back, take a deep breath and wait for our second wind.
As I watch my children grow, I am amazed by their differences, their similarities and their passions. I am blessed to join them on part of their journey and, in turn, learn a lot more about the world. I help them learn what they need to learn, refine their skills and make sure they get to practice on time. I find that the less I push, the easier it is to get through to them and help guide them.
With my stories, I write, I research, edit and polish. Each one is different from the last. Each one causes its own grief and pleasure. When I stop pushing is when the words and energy flows. I find that in order to write a good story, I need to relax the hunched shoulders and focus on nothing - which is usually easier said than done.
So, fellow writers, the way I see it is our mission is not to push until we drop from exhaustion. It is to release the stories and ideas from our minds, not coaxing or coercing them into life, but letting them live. Like children.
To all of the Moms out there.
Happy Mother's Day!
Hang in there and keep writing.