Lost in The Clutter

It's been so long since I've updated this blog that I hope those of you who were following will still be out there! I'm sure you have all gone through this: caught between celebrating the good things happening, mourning some losses and waking up one morning to find myself over-extended, over-obligated, over-stressed and completely over-whelmed.

It was so easy at the time to just keep saying yes to the things that came my way. I wanted to reach out into the writing community to make new connections, find new outlets and paths that I assumed would ultimately would lead me back to my own writing. I didn't realize just how many things I promised out. Lost track of how much time each one would take away from my own writing.

I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that one day it would all catch up with me and that I would find myself sitting in the clutter of too many things promised and not enough time in the world to accomplish them all. So, of course, the personal writing got dusty. The files and notes stood untouched. I was waiting for summer to jump in when classes finally ended and I didn't have the piles and piles of student essays and portfolios to read or the ten thousand (or so it seemed at the time) other obligations to fulfill.

But I find myself nearing the end of July with little of my writing on the page and that list of things to work on growing and growing. I have had to begin streamlining and letting things go. A hard thing to do. How do you decide what to walk away from and what to keep? In each thing,  I have made amazing connections with other writers, many who became fast friends, who have supported me in so many ways it became hard to find a method to balance what should stay and what should go.

But ultimately, it is the writing that must come first. And I have realized that the very thing that must come first is the thing I began to put last. The obligations became more important. The writing became a cast away second or third place until I was only setting aside vague notes instead of writing full poems and stories. The fully outlined novel is gathering cobwebs and the connections that all seemed to work a year ago, have broken because I have lost all those interwoven intricacies that keep me at the computer screen everyday. Working.

So in the first order of things,  I've decided to revitalize this blog. I have connected with so many of you through this page. And although I am working toward a full website (www.joanhanna.com) I'm thinking of ways to update and revamp this blog so it can be more of an overall reflection of the things I am doing. I'm thinking of some new content; a little less nonfiction, a little more poetry, maybe a review here and there and possibly incorporating guest bloggers.

I still don't know what the new balance will be; for the blog or my writing life. But I hope you will all follow along with me on the journey.

3 comments:

Elizabeth Marie said...

I have been in that place where I overextended and let the writing take last place. I created a "manifesto" for myself, but didn't stick to it. The MFA program has helped me put writing first, but I'm worried about what will happen after I leave (unless I totally bomb my defense, I'm graduating from Ashland in a couple of weeks). I know of you because of Ashland. Good luck! Good luck!!

Joan Hanna said...

Elizabeth,

I totally get that worry. It's important to stay in touch with other people that have gone through the program. They have become a valuable part of my writer life!

I's so hard to balance it all but eventually you"ll find what works best. Some of the things I had to let go were in place before I attended Ashland so I was very reluctant to let any of it go!

Good Luck with your defense!!!!

Elizabeth Marie said...

Thank you, thank you!! I have a feeling I won't be able to feel my face while I talk.

I'm lucky in that I'm starting fresh. No commitments yet, but also no work, which is a worry. I adore my Ashland classmates and consider at least four of them my sisters or brother of the heart. We'll stay in touch because we love each other. I'll keep up with you here to see how you manage.

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