NoNoWriMo – Day 7
Back in the work-week routine and dinner out with a friend tonight, so it’s late and now I’m tired and feel like I’m just going to slap this post together before I go to bed and I’m not feeling hugely optimistic about it’s profunditiy or ability to inspire.
And even before I finished the above sentence, I notice that I have set myself up here.
I wanted playmates on this not write a novel project and (wee!) now I’ve got me some (hi peeps; so glad you’re playing!) … but now that there are a handful or so of you coming along, I notice a creeping feeling of expectation that I need to wear an expert hat and TEACH some profound lesson with each post or be wildly upbeat and spiritual-ish or come from the I-know-what-I’m-doing-all-the-time place. And peeps, there’s no faster way for me to quash my creativity than when I set myself up for the way I think things SHOULD be. (notice, too, that no one TOLD me i needed to be an expert, i made that up all on my own. look at how creative [and counterproductive] my internal dialogue can be, huh?) :)
So yes, this is a variation on a theme of the earlier post re: outwitting/outlasting your internal editor, but I suspect I’m not the only one who re-visits this one a lot, so let’s dive in again, shall we?
I often say that the act of writing is a metaphor for our lives. What I mean is: the way we move through our process with writing gives us the opportunity to face ourselves on the page, and by putting ourselves on paper, there’s some declaring going on; even if we have no plan to share what we’ve said with the world, when our thoughts/feelings are on the page – it’s like saying: this is who I am/this is what I believe/this is what I want. And that can be scary.
On the other hand – when folks are starting a writing practice one of the first tips I offer is to let go of the feeling that what you write has to be true always. It’s true the moment that you write it, but it doesn’t have to be true the next day – or even the next second for that matter. Case and point: my pre-teen journals. If what I said then was true always, my sister would be a bossy wiener-head who I couldn’t stand, and I would be in love with Bill (no martin) … (no scott) … and I would be a professional actress/singer/cheerleader. But today, my sis is one of my favorite people; Bill, Martin and Scott – though still friends – are gay, and well, some professional dreams are better left in the pre-teen years.
But still, if we’re writing and publishing – even in the somewhat anonymous (but ever public) blogosphere and not in a novel or magazine article, etc. – we can’t be sure who will read what we’ve written, and they may not subscribe to the writing practice concept that what we wrote was just true on the day we wrote it, and we can’t ever control how it’s received or interpreted. (all you need to do to know that is to read an opinion blog piece on a popular website and see how folks comment – and how nastily and violently sometimes …) It’s enough to have you sit with your fingers on the keyboard, paralyzed. Right?
Now, see, this is where writing is so AWESOME … cause you’re about to see me talk myself into what I truely believe …
When I say that writing is a metaphor for living, I really mean it. If we’re going to live our lives fully and well, then we HAVE to get clear about who we are and what we want. It’s not always easy, and sometimes we have to fight convention and expectations – internal and external – but … that’s the adventure. Like Albin/Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles, I believe that “life’s not worth a damn ’til you can say … I am what I am.” And if I want to be out in the world in 3ish years (or less) doing my work as a “writing evangelist” full-time (and have it sustaining me WELL), then I need to be “out” about it. I need to work through the fears and anxieties that I will fail and that people may expect things of me and I may disappoint them. Then again, I may inspire some people to use the practice of writing to improve their lives and we may have FUN together. We may dig in deeply and enjoy the process. Now wouldn’t THAT be cool?
So, every day, we declare a little more on the page. In our journals or on a blog, we come out a little more every day. Tonight I’m tired, probably not entirely coherent (circling around my subject, doing what my writing often does before a good edit …), but declared. You?
Today’s springboard: What’s true for you today?