Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Writing Cycles

Being a writer, and a poet, has its enormous pleasures and perks.  But it also has enormous drawbacks which most of us, as writers, seem to understand as part of the process and part of the privilege.  And when you have a distinct and goofy kind of writing cycle it gets bumpy at times.

Years ago the moderator on a poetry board  posed a question to the people who were in there.  What kind of writing cycle, if any, do you go through?   Everyone who responded got the question immediately.  One man said he wrote for six months at top speed,  and  for the next six months he could barely form full sentences but he used the time for submitting work.  Another said their cycle was on for a year, off for a year.  Someone else said they had one month cycles of writing and not-writing.  Everybody recognized their own creative rhythms and played into them.  My own is a full seventeen year cycle, like the cicada.  I write like mad for about five years, and for the next twelve decelerate until I'm not writing anything at all.

I know when 'it' has happened quite clearly.  I start to sew. Knit. Weave.  The creative process is still there,  but it's been moved into the physical rather than the literary. And the minute I start thinking about sewing something it's time to shift into that other mode.  I hate it,  but  refuse to scurry around doing journals and dailies and forcing a poem out where none existed.  As far as that's concerned, it seems like beating a weary horse because he won't run no mo'.   It's a fallow period.  Time to let the brain recharge.

One thing it does teach me is patience, and trust in my own creative processes.  It will come back, in a year or two.


  1. This is so wise! it took me years and years not to feel despair every January when I couldn't make art, before I fathomed, duh, that's your fallow period, enjoy it, don't worry at it.

    Which brings me to you, and where can I read your poetry?

  2. I did most of my writing when my jaws were wired shut. I wrote things like " Honey would you bring me a bowl of soup and a straw,Please".