You know what you need…get some!

 

Getting Lucky

Are you getting some?  If not, why not?  There are no rules.  Get it where you can.

“Don’t make it fancy.  Do it on the kitchen table… flash like Jessica Lange’s white panties in The Postman Always Rings Twice.  Do it in the back of a pew at church.  Do it outside next to the lilac bush.  Do it in the bathtub.  Do it in the café.  On an airplane.  Do it, do it, do it.”

Just make sure you’ve got a pen and pencil handy.  Laptop works too.

Think less about having to “get her done” and remind yourself how much you enjoy doing it.  And when you’re ready, the words and the stories and the plots and the characters will all be waiting there for you, ripe for the picking.

Writing doesn’t have to be a chore.  It should be the opposite of that.  It should be…

Hold up…

Confused?

Puzzled?

Turned on?

What did you think I was talking about?

To be fair, in a lot of ways writing is like sex.  I wish I’d said this myself, but in truth it’s a connection made many times before by writers far more talented and well spoken than myself.

  • Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money. Virginia Woolf 
  • If you can’t write anything longer than a short story, don’t push it (or try to pad it). In writing as in sex, the best advice is to relax and let nature take her course. Stephen King    
  • Writing is the flip side of sex – it’s good only when it’s over. Hunter S. Thompson

Writing is like sex says Julia Cameron because, “It feels good whether you do it well or not.”

“It feels bad only when we’ve got performance anxiety,” she explains, “when we’re doing it and thinking “How am I doing it?’”

In last week’s blog, I talked about writers block and overcoming what Cameron calls The Wall.  As she accurately points out, walls and blocks tend to appear at the moment when our writing takes a turn for the serious, not in content but in intent.  Many of us start out with a hastily written treasure map, inked out on a napkin in a smoky bar at closing time – we don’t quite know where our story’s headed, but we’re pretty sure there’s some great reward waiting for us at the end of it.  And then, just as we round the bend and see the pot of gold we freeze – so many shiny coins, so many shiny insights and shiny thoughts and shiny plot points – there’s so much responsibility tied up in achieving this goal.

Perhaps we’re not worthy?

Listen.  Nobody can convince you that you’re worth it.  The surest path to failure and self-doubt is searching for validation in others.  And while we want that pat on the back or that bright blue ribbon or gold star next to our name, the truth is that recognition fades, opinions can be suspect, and the most fulfilling work happens when you aim to meet your own expectations instead of wondering what everybody else thinks.

“Writing doesn’t have to be perfect.  Writing is about energy, about perfect imperfection, about humanity,” emphasizes Cameron.

But showing your imperfections to the world can be intimidating.  It can be scary.  I cringe every time I see a typo in one of my articles.   An inappropriate use of tense, forget about it – if I could, I’d clutch my stomach and howl in shame.  And let us not forget about the misplaced comma, the dangling participles, the unfortunate use of “its”, “their” or “won” when you meant something entirely different.

The trick is to forge ahead anyway.  If helps to picture yourself as a brave horse with blinders on, leading its rider out of fiery Atlanta as Sherman descends, so be it.  If lighting some sage and chanting around your desk seems to help, I’m not going to tell you stop.  If a little prayer makes all the difference, whisper it over the keys.  Find a ritual, a talisman, a delusion…whatever it takes, but get over it because as cliché as it sound, if you want to succeed, if you really, really want to be a writer, you’re going to have to face that fear.

“’I’m afraid’ is always what stands between us and the page,” warns Cameron.  “When people talk about ‘discipline,’ they are really talking about ‘how did you get past ‘I’m afraid?’”

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4 thoughts on “You know what you need…get some!

  1. I think a vital part of enjoyable…writing…is in the anticipation, the build-up and daydreams that precede the actual act. Indulging in that part first makes the finish even sweeter.

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