When the life you lead, trying to be a person one can trust, trying to be present—really present as in LISTENING to what is said to you, not as an ersatz social scientist-novelist looking for material but as an involved friend and confidant or even mentor—when all that eats into your time alone to work, just VISIT it a little, each day, let it know you’re there, with friendly intentions (with the wish to release it and let it be its best self apart from you, even far from you), and then go on, being who you must be in the world. Trust that it will wait for you, even if it begins standing in your mind with one hand on its hip and one shoe restlessly tapping. It will wait. It will be there. Because it isn’t finally only about stubbornness or faith alone. It is also, deeply beyond the usual sense of the word, a matter of trust.
This is a quote from mentor, friend, and much loved professor, author Richard Bausch, whose inspiring, exquisite guiding principles for writing are not to be missed. He’s been kind enough to allow us to reprint some here. And this one couldn’t be more relevant to what we’re doing.
Visit it a little, each day. That’s it. No more, no less required to be able to call yourself working.
We’re now three months into this challenge. I wondered, when I started, if I’d be changed by now. If I’d feel a restlessness, an urgency to write each day. Or to write more, or better, or if the words would come more easily, or eloquently, or melodically.
What’s actually happened is that writing has become a sort of phantom that lingers at the edges and waits for me to notice it. This is different from before, where it was sleeping undisturbed until I woke it every now and again.
I remember to write, and to think about writing, to plan, to research, to examine words and images, to stick my toe into the waters of creating, just a little.
I visit it. And, whenever possible, sit and stay for a while. It’s a matter of trust. And we’ll continue to honor it the best we can.
How’s it going for all of you, however many months in?