Haphazard is the word I would use to describe my writing process. I have tried to put structure to, and boundaries around, my practice, but after many years it still seems to resemble squiggly lines on a piece of paper. I’m not hugely disciplined and like many writers will procrastinate to the bitter end, and think up anything to do rather than sit down and actually write. I’m slow too. I walk a lot – fresh air and exercise is a wonderful guilt-free excuse for not getting it down on paper.
But here’s the funny thing – it happens anyway. As I stride along, ideas take a hold of me – like gremlins they whisper ‘go on, go there, I dare you.’ I am surprised by what I write. Often it is the thing I most want to avoid – or bury in a deep hole quite frankly. It’s what takes over when I am pondering other themes to explore or stories I want to tell. To my astonishment, the slow decline of elderly parents, the heartbreak of separation, the fear of drowning in the mire of daily struggles – there it all is poured onto the page.
These words take form in poetry. I love the intensity of making every word count. I struggle with it and despair. But sometimes, just sometimes, I see in the words a truth I’ve told.
And then I know why I write.