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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

Next Steps in the Writing Room

I have begun walking every morning again.  Weather and schedule decide the route, but the commitment is to walk each day.  And as often happens when I begin something in one area of my life the effects can be felt in another.

Yesterday I stepped into a new phase on working with “the book”. I found the old bulletin board down in the basement, dusted it off, removed the postcards from ten years ago and hung it in my writing room. I typed out the first lines of scenes and descriptions of the city, printed and cut them into squares and began pinning them up in groupings. This is not a timeline or a story board per se but a gallery of images, conversations, scenes and settings. Like a sonogram what I see on the board is not yet formed but the essence of it is there, the sense of movement, the heartbeat.

I had been trying to work with various but singular processes – a friend’s advice to use scrivener, another’s to try evernote, another approach using index cards. I kept hitting bumps.  I have always been one for creating my own eclectic process. When I taught reading I used whole language and phonics, when I did research I used mixed methods, when I cook I think of recipes as guidelines. 

I realized I need something tangible beyond the limited space of my laptop – images that I can move around with my hands, I need to touch the world I am creating. I need to be able to vary my environment – to move back and forth from laptop to paper, from academic journals to fiction, historical accounts and folktales, maps and music. The world of my book is as multidimensional  as the one we inhabit.

I’m not sure yet how the image board, the files on my lap top, the piles of books, the books on my kindle, the articles on jstor will all come together. But I have a trust in the practice. Like walking everyday, the path may vary, the weather will certainly change – i just need to take step by step and stay present.

Feel free to remind me.

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