Mid-terms have passed and the Fall Equinox has been going hard for a month already.
It is fall, y’all.
In the spirit of Fall and reassessing, redoing, regathering, I wanted to very clearly look at how I am (or more appropriately, decidedly NOT) writing.
Life in these parts is busy. Three classes. Teaching. Coast Guard Reserves. Weight lifting. Canvassing so The Evil One Doesn’t Take Throne. A feminine centered coaching program. Life.
I find myself not writing. Journaling, yes. Blogging, yes. But, sitting with my creative projects, my final manuscript?
I am a recovering perfectionist and procrastinator. A TERRRRRRRIBLE combination for a writer. Maybe a human being?
I have this SUPER IDEAS IN MY HEAD for stories. They are so DEEP and FUNNY and UNIVERSAL and WILL HELP DESTROY THE PATRIARCHY.
So, why am I not writing?
I could say busyness, but c’mon, we’re all kinda busy. It’s the drug of choice of this day and age.
The deepest reasons are fear and priorities.
The typical I am not good enough fears that start yipping and yelling like hyperactive children with IVs of Kool-Aid and Oreos would when we want to create Something New.
That Something New could be writing. Or a new work-out regimen. Your PhD bibliography, that one art class you swore you would take.
Dissecting the fears is not my concern right now. I am well into my life to know that these fears will always be here. They are no more inextricable from me than my own heart.
So, I have to make friends with what stops me from writing. And then like that mean girl from middle school, I gotta outmaneuver them and then show up the next day at lunch like, “Aha! Got ya!”
My methods of choice right now are 1. publicly shaming myself, 2. scheduling,and 3. realistic goals.
- I get it. I read Brene Brown.
Shame is not cool. It destroys.
But sometimes, well, sometimes, I know I need some accountability. Some sort of life-and-dead-line which spells out punishment if I don’t meet it. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays I will be writing for at least one hour. Just writing. That’s it. By hand. On a laptop. I will tune out and write.
And I will post when I start and stop to Snapchat.
(You see what kind of excited life I am leading that my Snapchats most prominently will feature me typing away at Panera…perhaps this will change.)
It’s not about who sees my “stories” of writing on Snap. It is just a mechanism that forces me out of hiding.
I remember when one of my favorite musical artists, Francis Farewell Starlight (yes, his real name) used to post his piano practicing sessions on line. He promised his fans he’d practice for an hour each day and he did. I’d check in time to time.
Perhaps, he knew he needed something outside of himself to truly sit down on the bench.
I am finally seeing the beauty and wisdom of this for myself.
2. Schedule. I’m going to put this in my calendar. With hearts and other fun-time emojis. I am going to treat it like a yoga class where I’d feel stupid for showing up halfway through.
3. I am going to be realistic: my writing is just gonna suck for awhile.
Sometimes it’s so hard. You write. You take those papers to workshop and you learn they are shit. Or you read them yourself as you write and know, deep down,
“This is shit.”
I will remind myself of Anne Lamott and the SFD (Shitty First Draft).
I will talk to my Inner Critic, My Inner Perfectionist Asshole, My Inner Saboteur and whomever of the posse decides to show up (without a damn RSVP). And then I will get back to work writing shittily. I will give up on genius work. I will take crazy-stupid risks. I will remember how long it took me to master a jump shot when I first started playing basketball.
I will use jock analogies internally incessantly.
And later on, I will revise.
As in life.
So! Yes. If you are looking over your 2016 and going, yeah, I really don’t wanna enter 2017 without _____________, then you gotta do something differently.
What works for you? What definitely does not? What do you truly want to create and why?
I refuse to let the smallness of my ego get in the way of creating.
I’m sure you are too.