Sunday, January 11, 2009


One thing that I have been thinking about is resolving my competing commitments. I long to be a writer, more than anything, I want to write novels and publish them and move past this crippling doubt.  And I know I DO want those things. My desire manifests itself constantly every time I wander into a bookstore and feel myself pulled towards to those talismans of the writing life—writing books. Books on plotting, planning, creation, starting, finishing, revising and revisiting. Invariably, I pull off the shelf, flip through the pages, searching, always searching for that one perfect phrase, that formula that would pull me out of myself, and replace me with the writer I've always dreamed of becoming. 

But I always find myself disappointed. Because the books, inspirational though they can be, can't do the work for me. They can't put fingers to keyboard, they can't pull the words out of my often clenched mind. They can't write the book for me.

And that leads me to the other competing commitment. The commitment to NOT writing, to NOT exposing my dream to the harsh realities of my limited ability. The commitment to protect myself. Because if I really try, and if I see that I am no good, then I will be forced to give up. I will never be a writer. What will I dream about? What hope will sustain me then?

The book I just finished reading said that I should test my big assumption (in this case, the total belief that if I try, I will realize that I will never be good enough or know enough to write, and thus I'll need to give up) with small, safe experiments. But what kind of experiment would that be? Because even writing a few words towards my novel unleashes that fear that the worst is already true and cannot be changed.

This is what I need to discover.



Blogger Beth said...

Glad to see you here again. I just wanted to say Happy New Year and good luck - just write. Just do it. If you worry about the results or how it's received, you'll always be paralyzed. And plenty of people write wonderful novels that never get the reception they deserve, so you can't think about that part. Just write. Set a goal, even if it's 100 words a day, and chip away at it, but do it FOR YOURSELF, because YOU need and want to. The rest - the goals, expectations, the judgments - are really unimportant. If you write for yourself, the best you can, that is more than 99.9% of the people ever do. Just start. We all deal with these same demons, and they feel huge, but they're shadows.

9:19 PM, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Pipping said...

Hello! Just found you tonight while searching for Love After Love (heard it on an Oprah podcast on my way home tonight). Funny, the way paths flow into each other.

2008 was an "off" year for me too. I ended the year realizing I hadn't lived, but merely existed through most of the 12 months. My first reaction was to admonish myself for losing focus and allowing things to gather dust or fall into disrepair. Then I began to question why I always use my mistakes as an excuse not to even tap into my potential. Why was I punishing myself?

There is no logic to it. It's just my pattern.

And it sucks.


And so, as 2009 loomed, I jumped in with both feet and decided to break my lifelong pattern and practice creativity on a daily basis even if only for 15 minutes with no project actually completed. I'm on day 15 so far and so far, so good. Best of all, I am starting feel a strong feeling of hope and contentment. In the last 15 days, I haven't felt anxious about time I "wasted" and the future is exciting with its potential instead of frightening with its uncertainty. I haven't spent so much time living in the present, probably, since I was a child and you know what? It feels wonderful! I can breathe. I can sleep well. I feel empowered in a peaceful and quiet way. Never realized I could have this for me.

I truly hope you take Beth's comment to heart. When you create, do it for YOU. If you submit something and it's rejected, that's all it is- someone saying, "No thank you." It isn't someone stealing your mind or your heart or your soul. Has nothing to do with the fact that you have a voice!

I look to William Hung for humorous inspiration. They shot looks of disbelief and unkind words at him and you know what? He. Did. Not. Care.

He did not care.

At all! -he had FUN!

Awesome. I want to be like that: mindfully oblivious to the snide cruelty of others when in pursuit of that which makes his heart light. His joy was his and his alone. Pure and unshakeable in his commitment to himself.

I wish you a very wonderful 2009! I hope you use this year to compare less and celebrate more- please have fun enjoying the gifts you were born with!

2:13 AM, January 16, 2009  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Your writing made me remember a (probably apocryphal) story. A girl is talking to her sister, telling her she wants to study law. Her sister asks, what's keeping you? Sister One says, well, it'll take six years. The wise second sister says, well, do you want to be a lawyer in six years, or just wish you'd studied? The six years will pass anyway.

I found your wonderful writing in a completely serendipitous way. Keep up the excellent play:-)


11:45 PM, July 26, 2009  

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