Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creativity Slump?

It's been over two weeks since I last posted. Sad! That doesn't mean this is the first thought I've started to write up since then, but it's the first one that I'm determined to post. There is another close. Maybe.

Jamie read me a quote in "The Summer of the Great-Grandmother" by Madeline L'Engle that might account for my lack of producing something enlightening enough I feel worth publishing.

My creativity is being drained. When I was pregnant with Josephine, a friend who was a successful dancer and the mother of several children told me that a woman cannot be creative in two ways simultaneously, and that I would not be able to write while I was carrying the baby. Obviously she could not do a tour jete when she was five months pregnant, but I saw no reason not to go on writing, and write I did. The odd thing is that nothing I wrote during my pregnancies ever came, itself, to term. It was like practicing finger exercises, absolutely essential for the playing of the fugue, but it did not lead to the fugue till after the baby was born. I do not understand this, but I do not think it coincidence.

I'm teaching a writing class to 13 9-11 year olds at a homeschool co-op every Thursday. In many ways I wish I were taking the class instead of teaching it. Isn't that strange? If I'm teaching it, I should know more than the kids I'm teaching. Well, to a point I do, but as the teacher I don't actually have to produce a book through the course of the class like the kids do. They've all been writing these wonderful stories, and while you could say I'm improving my teaching skills, my being inspirational skills, or my "look, you just have to write a story, okay?" bossy skills, I haven't done an ounce of writing myself. I am not a fiction writer, so it could be helpful to be forced into it.

I did sign up for a fiction writing class in college once. I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice that, while before my writing had been about research, analyzing literature, or essay writing. I showed up the first night of class. The teacher started off by saying that the next week we need to bring a sample of some fiction we had written, or get something written to bring that next week. I went into shock at that point. I thought I was there to LEARN to write fiction, not walk in already knowing how to write it. I don't think I heard another word said, and I quickly dropped the class.

In the book I'm using for the co-op class, it lists six reasons why people do not write:

1. The have no guarantee of readers.
2. They have no deadlines.
3. They don't have an editor.
4. They don't know how to edit their own work.
5. They don't write often enough.
6. They have too little or no regard for the reader.

I think the two biggest that apply for me are deadlines and not writing often enough. I know my mom at least reads this so I have a reader, after all those English classes I hope I can spell and turn a phrase or two without sounding too terrible, and I do keep readers in mind and try not to make things too boring. Keyword: Try

My pal Karen and I have talked about starting a writing group which would certainly alleviate all the problems above, but with just the two of us interested so far, a writing duo isn't nearly as exciting as a writing group.

Anyway, dear reader, since I do have regard for you, I'm going to close this up. But if you don't see anything posted for a while again, just assume that my preggo brain is working to create elsewhere.


  1. Oh I so understand you today and feel the same...except not on the (me being) pregnant part. ;) I think writing OFTEN is a KEY. I know when I blog often, my creative juices flow when I stop even for a few days, my juices die die die an awful death. I'm still interested in your writing group. And you always have at least 2 readers if you count me.

  2. Count me as reader number 3. A writing group sounds interesting.

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  4. I was beginning to worry about you Marni....I had noticed that it has been a while since you posted. (Yes, I check every day.) And I have talked to you since then but I always enjoy reading your blogs. So I was glad to see something new and now I know why there hasn't been anything new lately. My brain would be fried doing all the things you do!

  5. Marni,
    Thanks for the glimpse inside of your homeschool co-op. It sounds as if the kids are learning a lot.

    I think you're being too hard on yourself for not doing the homework along side the kids. There's time for everything. I find it hard to accomplish other things when I am teaching a co-op class. I'm not teaching this semester and I have gotten a lot of writing done instead! Next year I hope to teach again and probably won't write as much.

    I hope your co-op continues to be a blessing to your family and other homeschool families.

    Carol Topp, CPA
    Author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out