Something I thought about:

  • After spending the end of May closing as many half-finished/outstanding items as possible, my somewhat tongue-in-cheek task this week was to “quiet my brain.” This took pretty much the entire week. I needed to switch from “go go go” mode to a calmer writing mind, which meant thinking through when and why I was winding myself up (no good reasons, really — just habit or, perhaps, momentum) and how to settle into slower, deeper focus instead. Some of this involved planning. Some was writing everything out that I’ve been carrying in my head. Mostly I had to pause and think and let go of false urgency.

Something I did:

  • Finished the teaching term and entered grades. This was a tough semester for everyone, but we made it.
  • Planned my work for the summer.

Something I read:

  • I liked Kristin Cashore’s blog post on how she develops an idea when writing, in particular her description of navigating the ebbs and flows of an idea and how she balances that with external deadlines.  
  • I enjoy Rob Walker’s newsletter The Art of Noticing. He recently wrote a piece on rest that resonated with me. This semester I’ve been trying to be better about separating work time and break time and actually scheduling both in my planner. I spend fewer hours working, but I’m more productive — my brain is quieter.
  • This conversation between Cyn and Uma is lovely. Cyn talks through her process of writing an inclusive reimagining of the Peter Pan story — what’s compelling about the original story and how she approached some of its myriad issues in her version.
  • In this interview with Kiese Laymon, I love his response to how he deals with writer’s block. Describing the problem — writing it out — is really the only way through, whether the problem is in the piece of writing or something in life:
LH: How do you tackle writers block?
KL: With my head down, like I’m trying to concuss myself. I try to describe the “block” and once it’s described I decide what I need to go through it. Then you have to turn around and describe the feeling of running through it. We’re writers. We don’t run through anything without describing what we ran through.