Monday, 11 February 2019

This blue day

Oh, my goodness — the cherry tree outside my window on this blue day!

This was the same tree just a few months ago —

And now — I don't know if you can tell from the photographs — its twigs have the sticky-out-bits of new buds almost ready to break! Be encouraged, friends shivering in chilly America, Spring is coming, it really is!

This morning I have turned my attention to the task for this quarter, writing a book under contract for submission in early summer. One of the big challenges of any book is writing the opening section. If that isn't interesting, you've lost your reader from the start. I often set the opening section aside to be written at some later stage when I've thought how to succinctly express introductory thoughts, but this morning in the bath I knew how I wanted to put it, and rushed into my room to get it all down before the ideas evaporated like so much bathroom steam. Nothing worse than lost words trickling mournfully down the window pane.

Nailed it! We're off! 

So now it's a thousand words a day with gaps here and there for preparing Sunday worship and whatnot.  I already made very full notes to support my original proposal to the publisher, so everything's in place. This is non-fiction, so what I want to say is not something elusive that will wander off like a bored cat if I take my attention out of it for five minutes. It's firmly grounded, rooted in the Bible and expressed in the daily practice of discipleship. No doubt it will have its challenges — it never pays to get too cocky about any writing endeavour! But for once I'm looking forward to it instead of feeling utterly daunted. It doesn't have the capriciousness and easily frightened-off quality of fiction, where you have to stalk it with such silent patience and the slightest interruption can alarm and scatter it.

Even so, I'll get up early to write, and put the Engaged sign on my door, because the Muse is a shy wee beastie and you do have to focus.

But today's portion is written, so hooray.


greta said...

i promise to keep you and your muse tucked firmly in my prayers whilst you are writing. may you be blessed with inspiration and plenty of quiet time and space for your work. know that i am already eagerly anticipating reading your new creation when it comes out in print. meanwhile, we have another 'winter storm warning' here in iowa, 5-8 inches of blowing and drifting snow. we'll have to take your assurances of the coming of spring on faith! the quotation from habakkuk is one to memorise in the midst of a very long winter : )

Anonymous said...

How exciting! Blessings on your work!

Pen Wilcock said...

Ooh, thank you Greta! The power and efficacy of friends' prayers never fails to astonish me!
Keep warm! xx

Nearly Martha said...

Can I ask? Is that how you work? In distinct portions of time or word-count. I am thinking of starting a portion of time a day to write to see if it is productive.

Suzan said...

I pray that this writing works like clockwork for you.

How wonderful to have a cherry tree. We are nearing the end of our cherry season. How I have enjoyed the fruit this year. I am glad that spring is peeping through. My mandarin and lemon tree have very few buds on them. So pretty and I await those fruits too.

God bless.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Nearly Martha — a really good book you might like to investigate is Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", which includes the advice of writing what she calls "Morning Pages" — three pages of writing that you stick to producing NO MATTER WHAT, as a discipline that conditions your subconscious to give up the goodies when you sit down to work. Because good writing/art utilises the subconscious mind, habit is key. My friend Margery went about the same thing a different way by making Wednesdays sacrosanct for working on her art projects, whether or not she felt inspired.
I've written a bit about my own practice (in writing and in editing both my own and others' work) in what I posted to this blog in January — the post of particular relevance to your question is this one:
The Artist's Way is here:
May your work be fruitful and blessed!

Hi Suzan — thank you so much! We have three cherry trees in our garden, but the one outside my window is actually in our neighbour's front garden. It doesn't have fruit (ours do), but is what's called a "flowering cherry" (ornamental, flowers but no fruit). It is so beautiful, I absolutely love it.

Bean said...

I am looking forward to the upcoming picture of the fully in blossom cherry tree :)

I enjoy hearing about your writing process, it is interesting. Wishing you many hours of productive writing time.

Freezing rain here in NE Indiana this morning, everything is coated in a layer of ice, schools are closed today. Although freezing rain is treacherous, it is also beautiful, seeing everything encased in ice makes the winter landscape still, peaceful, and surreal.

Have a good day,


Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Bean — I have only been once to America, to Hopewell in New Jersey where the Princeton Quaker Meeting House is. It was winter, snow on the ground, and the trees were encased in ice. I had never seen it before. It was indeed beautiful. We had a fire indoors and that was beautiful, too!

Rebecca said...

I love your description of the Muse!

Pen Wilcock said...



Buzzfloyd said...

I want all my clothes to look like that autumn cherry tree!

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah yes — I think the colours integral to a natural scene offer the most effective combinations of all!