09 May 2013

Writing About Writing is NOT Real Writing

Writing prompts, writing prompts, writing prompts.  I can look at a million of them but if I don't put them to work for me, no writing will ever actually get done.  I think sometimes the reason I don't write is that I'm too much of a perfectionist.  Maybe this will come as a surprise to some who know me who see my tendency towards the haphazard in many areas - but I assure you that writing is not one of them.  When it comes to writing, I have started a million journals and ripped out the first page, which is hysterical considering these are *for my eyes only*.  I start a letter only to write a paragraph or two and ball the whole thing up and shoot it like a basketball into the wastebasket.  If my words feel awkward, unless there is an assignment to turn in or a grade at stake or something that *must* be written, I will easily give up on anything short of perfection. 

In one of my favorite writing books Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott urges aspiring writers with these two pieces of advice:
  • allow yourself to write sh*tty first drafts
  • write only what you can see in a 1" picture frame
I love these two pieces of advice. Do I do either of them? No. I don't allow the first drafts to be really, really, really bad.  I write, and backspace and re-write and edit even in the midst of what I'm writing.   I stay obsessively focused on the big picture.  I fret and worry about where I am going with whatever I am writing, the end result, the bottom line, the motivation behind what I feel the need so desperately to say to the world.

Lurching back into the blogging world has given me an opportunity to do this again, to just put something down!  I don't intend for it to be anything of any ultimate significance to anyone else, but a forum to get myself writing again.  Once upon a time I was a prolific blogger and stopped in my own best interest when my blog became a place to fall apart in a very public way when my life imploded.  I am in a totally different place in life now, and I think I'm ready to throw myself back into something I loved so much - and in even this small way, discipline myself as a writer.

So here goes..... and thanks for those of you who have always encouraged me along the way. 

07 May 2013

Never Actually Writing

One of the most difficult things about writing to me is the concept of taking roughly a million thoughts floating around in my brain, like balloons lifting high into the sky - trying to capture them and put them into some sort of order that makes sense.  Much of the time my thoughts are equally as vulnerable, prone to popping and deflating. Often before they are even solidly anchored in my head, they disappear. I make attempts at scribbling partial, cryptic thoughts onto notecards and into various Moleskin notebooks only to look back and have no sense of what it is I thought was so brilliant about my idea.  I sit before a blank Word document with a flashing cursor and have nothing to give it.  I want to pour out all of myself at once - a myriad of thoughts and stories and depth of conviction, but no matter how I try, they all tangle up tightly like a shoelace that has twisted so all the threads become as one.

This is the frustration with writing or thinking myself a writer - the never actually writing.