Friday, December 26, 2008

A one-week sabbatical

I am taking my own advice and giving myself the gift of not just a one-day sabbatical but a one-week retreat from writing for my column and blogs. It’s been a while since I’ve been sensing a mild case of burnout. I am ready to admit it and take action to refuel, refresh and revive the dimming flame.

Now, don’t be surprised if you see me here before the week is out. Either way, please know that I’ll still be writing. I want to concentrate on writing by hand. It is a practice that nudges my heart and my creativity. However, sometimes I get so caught up in using my laptop that even though the practice calls me, I find it difficult to pull myself away to savor the simplicity and the pleasure of cradling a lovely pen between my fingers and dancing across the page with words that reflect my thoughts and my emotions.

Have you tried writing by hand lately? With the speed and versatility of the computer you probably view writing by hand as an ancient custom. But very often old customs hold a sort of pleasurable simplicity and freedom that new customs might lack. Try it. Try writing by hand at least once per week, just for a few minutes. Maybe it will become a regular practice that opens you heart in a new way and brings you the kind of pleasure it does for me.

I also have a few books to read as well as a folder of articles and reports on writers, writing and the writing life.

Two books I am especially excited about are:

(1) Writing from the Heart by Nancy Slonim Aronie. I'm three-quarters of the way through. Nancy taps my heart ever so gently but firmly with her writing. I have only been able to read one chapter at a time as each chapter highlights the similarity of our experiences. Then I need a week or two to grapple with how those experiences have shaped and continue to shape my writing. It is a soul-searching exercise reading through this book and I owe it to myself to take my time to understand and absorb every benefit I can from it and I owe it to Nancy for her bravery in exposing her life experiences and lessons, her heart and her passion for writing.

(2) The courage to Write by Ralph Keyes. I acquired this book only recently but I have long desired to own it. Snippets I've read over the years and comments by other writers have kept me intrigued and in a constant state of anticipation. Finally I have it and although I was tempted to devour it immediately. I felt it was to my benefit to leave it for a time when I can devote the undivided attention I believe it deserves.

So my cherished readers and friends enjoy the rest of 2008 and as long as God spares our lives, we will met here again in the New Year.


Sita said...

Happy New Year, Cheryl...enjoy!

Cheryl Wright said...

Right back at you my dear friend.

Magnolia said...

I'm so impressed with your self control and discipline Cheryl.

As soon as a new book hits my mailbox, I'm ripping open the packaging and sprinting to the first quiet spot I can find to begin reading.

Sometimes I don't make it past my front porch swing.

Consequently, I'm usually reading 3 or 4 books at the same time. I have about 3 going now.

I made myself put one back on the bookshelf until I actually completed one, so I guess I exercised a little bit of restraint after all. ;)

I just bought a new journal yesterday. I love the ones that have a magnetic fold over that keeps the book closed.

the pages are usually lovely and I love the artwork of the covers as well.

I didn't need a new one, I just saw it and it had a lovely Vincent Van Gogh painting on it and I couldn't resist.

I write in my journal by hand at least once a week.

Sometimes when I get started I will write several pages.

There is something special and unique about journaling by hand.

Having done it my entire life, I could never give it up. Computers or not.

I plan to keep my journals and pass them on to my children when I'm gone. They may learn a few things about their crankly old mom.

Will look for your return soon.

Cheryl Wright said...

Seasons Greetings Mags.

I often say that I have too much self-control for my own good but it is that same self-control that has saved me from many unpleasant, uncomfortable and hurtful episodes. So I have reasons to be thankful for it still. With regard to The Courage to Write, it's been so difficult not jumping into those pages. I swear I have been dribbling just looking it and waiting for the perfect time to read it through it through in one sitting. That's the plan. Then I want to read it again at a slower pace - excavating beyond the surface for more priceless nuggets to enhance and inspire my writing.

Don't ever apologize for your obsession with books and reading. Own it and admit it with pride and be content knowing that you are not alone.

Sometimes I think journaling by hand is a spiritual practice and only another hand-writing journaler, like yourself and the countless others who enjoy it can understand.

With love always

Joanne said...

Your suggestion to write by hand is intriguing, esp in this day and age. Having pretty journals waiting helps, and also having a favorite pen. I've been wanting to buy a fountain pen, and I'd imagine using one will only further inspire me. Writing by hand really makes the craft seem even more like an art form.

Cheryl Wright said...

A fountain pen is on my list of "writing stuff to buy" in January. I have fond memories of using one in school and have always harbored a secret desire to own one again. I'm talking about a real old0fashioned fountain pen with the suction tube to pull up ink from an ink bottle. That's the one I want.

Pretty journals are nice but can be pretty expensive. I try to find a middle ground - pretty in a simple kind of way but more on the less expensive side. Besides when a journal is too pretty and fancy schmancy I am afraid to write in it.

I have several pretty pretty ones I received as gifts. They've been on my book shelf for several years. I'm sure I will use them one day. Meanwhile I use the simpler ones. I buy two or three at a time when they are on sale so I always have one or two or three on hand.

but that day has not yet

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