If the writing’s this hard, it must be right

Right? Eventually.

Lately, the free writing isn’t going well at all. The revising isn’t going well. I tell myself not to worry. I remind myself to show up again tomorrow.

Last year, I was inspired when Nick Flynn talked about writing for a few years before he was sure what form a project would take. Such patience!

When I embarked on this latest exploration, I wanted to give it room and see how it would evolve. I confess I finished a few poems–and I thought I finished a few more. But now I’m looking at different poems and wondering whether they’re repeats. If two poems talk about prisms, are they duplicates? Could they be combined into one longer poem? Two sections of a longer poem? Or are they using the same shovel to dig into different subjects? Do I need to add more to them? (I’ve tried that some; I’m not convinced it’s helping.)

Do I cut out all the ambiguous parts, the potential trap doors, and fit the work into a neat box called “poem”? That doesn’t sound right, doesn’t feel right. Or do I keep exploring, ranging out further, knowing that I might still end up back where I started. I have until Thursday to come up with something (even something interim), which makes the neat box sound appealing. The luxury of certainty.

(On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed reading the proofs for In Both Hands, getting to know those poems again. Clearly, this poetry writing is possible.)

I’m living in uncertain times and if my poems are uncertain, I need to embrace that, follow it, wallow in it (in a good way). Love the process, not the result.

Who said this is supposed to be easy? Who said hard isn’t fun?

How do you live and write in uncertainty? How do you remind yourself not to worry, to keep showing up? All tips appreciated!