In early June 2019, I finished a Leuchttrum – I use these for drafting poetry. This one took about exactly one year.
It’s a bit of a momentous occasion to fill a notebook. I celebrated by signing with a flourish, as you can partly see in the image above, next to the “6/3/19” date. I also celebrated by getting a new notebook!
In this case, and kind of by chance, the draft for “Wend” was finished on the very last page of the old notebook, so unlike last year, when I kept writing the draft of “Patronymic” as I switched notebooks, this time the new Leuchtturm was just totally blank and waiting.
A blank notebook can be a little intimidating (as well as exciting), but in this case, my usual work process helped out – and maybe it will help you.
I don’t have a lot of time to write, and I tend to work on only one piece at a time. I keep a list of ideas and phrases separate from my drafting, so I can go back to them when I’m ready to start another piece. (You’ll see one exception to that process in the image above, when I stopped writing what was then tentatively titled “Cosmology” to write “Beauty for Ashes,” and then returned to “Cosmology” which was finished as a piece titled “Object Permanence.”) Those lists of words and phrases are there to help me when I’m ready to write.
Even more importantly, when I faced the blank notebook, I stopped to “mine” the old notebook for any phrases or ideas that I had been using in prior drafts of poetry, that didn’t make the final cut of those pieces. As I started writing these ideas and phrases in one place in the new notebook, an idea started to gel for the next piece, which I have since begun. Mining the old notebook paid off! The place-holder title for the piece I’m now working on is “Numeracy.”
And so it continues. I’m excited to see what pieces will be written between June 2019 and June 2020 as I use this new notebook. (It’s exciting to look at the “Table of Contents” in the first image above and realize that a year ago, none of those pieces existed – and that I have since had the joy of discovery in writing them and bringing them into this world and getting to know them.)
And I’m excited to see what life holds in store over the next year. On with the adventure!