Not quite a year ago, I sat down with my writing teacher and friend, Kate Hopper, to talk about my writing goals and all that. I’ve long talked about writing a book – a memoir or collection of essays – but I’ve written on so many topics over the years – body image, flying, bicycling, marriage, cars, parenting, motherhood, loss, rodeos, travel, home, faith – that I feel quite overwhelmed with where to begin.
Add to that first level of overwhelming, all sorts of questions and doubts come to mind when I start to think “write a book”. Where do I start? How do I choose a topic to write about when I have so many options? I have no business doing this! I am not a good enough writer. No one will want to read my work! and What do I write about? I can’t do this! How do I sort through 20 years of writing and try to make sense out of what I’ve already written and where I need to fill in the gaps?
I told all of this to Kate when we met back when. And Kate looked me in the eye with her intense writer mentor warrior stare and said, “Myrna, you can do this” Then she told me to go home and print out all of the stuff I have written and mark it up in some way to show what themes I have running through my work and then we’ll get to work on figuring out what to do next.
I left that meeting with the best of intentions. I decided to organize all of my writing work in Scrivener (which is a basically a writing program allows you to compile your writing into projects and do all sorts of fancy stuff like tagging your work by theme). I think I must have decided to go this Scrivener way because it would make things easier for me in the long run. In the short run, however, I got started with the project and didn’t get far. Or maybe doing the project with Scrivener was me trying to save trees and not print my essays. Or maybe it was a way of avoiding the project altogether.
Whatever the case, here I am today on a lovely day on the 2nd of March and I have started afresh. I have a spreadsheet in front of me titled “Directory Listing of Writing” that my husband, Owen, created for me by going into my computer and finding all of my writing files. I’m going through the 52 pages of entries and highlighting the things that I’ve written that I will print and I’ve started printing my work. I purchased what is probably my first of many packs of sticky flags so I can somewhat quickly flag each piece of work according to theme. I have created a writing themes key so that I don’t forget what sticky flag color corresponds with which theme. Next up is three hole punch everything and stick it all in a 3 ring binder. And, after that, I will sit down with Kate once again and we’ll take a look at what all I have and make some plans on what is next.
Here I go!