Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Self-Imposed Homestead Writing Residency

81º ~ cloud cover thickening, interior lights required at noon in June

Many thanks to all who have been reading my draft notes.  I know that a whole string of these may become a bit stale, so I thought I'd also post some comments about my self-imposed homestead writing residency.

This is Day 10 of what I designed to be a month-long focus on writing (30 days given that this is June).  I'm amazed at the progress I've made and am beginning to see the reason many folks go to actual colonies, workshops, or residencies.  In the past, I have applied for these and been turned down repeatedly.  Sadly, for most of the summer residencies that I could attend given my teaching schedule, the application process occurs during the academic year, especially in the early spring when I have a terrible time finding the time to write let alone fill out endless and varied paperwork. 

So, this year, I took a look at the calendar and discovered that C. and I are taking our two mini-vacations in July and that June was a pretty clear page.  At first, I spoke quietly to myself of doing a draft-a-day for the month of June but I didn't really take myself too seriously, having failed at draft-a-day programs that went beyond a week or two.  I also wanted to try to read a book of poems a day if only for self-preservation as the stacks of books are getting scary in here.  As June 1 drew closer, those two goals became more firm, and after the first few days passed and I was able to both draft and read, it seemed do-able.

I've learned a few lessons. 

1. I need an alarm clock.
2. Because I am at home, there will be tasks.  These must be pushed off to the afternoon.  No early lunch dates, no more appointments with electricians and the like in the morning (notice there is no post for Tuesday, June 5).
3. I need to allow myself to take a break if the draft just isn't happening.
4. The reading seems to have been as helpful as the dedicated time to drafting.
5. Having the sickly speaker series already 2/3 underway meant no stuttering, no starts & stops. 

Remember that I have no children and a very understanding spouse.  C. and I talked about how to make this work before I started.  The system is this.  In the mornings he will assume I'm working and should not be interrupted (unless there is bleeding or swelling or some other 911 emergency).  When I come to my stopping point in drafting and blogging, I let him know.  When I'm reading, interruptions for quick questions are fine and don't bother me at all. 

The thing that has surprised me the most is that I haven't once not wanted to be here at the desk.  I haven't had to work to get my BIC (butt in chair).  I suppose this is b/c April and May were so cram packed with school stuff that I had little time to read & write, so I'm overflowing.  I wonder if this would have worked as well if I'd been writing regularly before June 1.  

no expenses, no need to apply (time & money), access to the food I like, wear pajamas all day, access to cats and C., access to ALL of my books, my desktop computer (finally!), and my familiar view

no networking, no in-person support and feedback from peers and instructors, no socializing

And now, to pick my book for today and move to the easy chair under a good light. (Oh my goodness, there's a light sprinkling going out out there...nothing to write home about, but still, raindrops are plinking on the leaves.)


Molly said...

I love this idea. I think I'll be able to put it to use myself in about 14 more years! (not that I'm counting) :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ah, Molly, you writer-parents are my heroes!