getting out of my own way

These are the things that have kept me from writing as much as I should so far this week:

  1. hormone headache/fog
  2. obsessive reading of Don Quixote so I can finish it (!)
  3. sudden worry that I am not educated enough to write anything
  4. googling writing programs/workshops/classes
  5. reading the comments and testimonials of above and worrying even more that I don’t know what I’m doing
  6. staring at rain
  7. making four hundred cups of tea
  8. making lists of things I should write and submit to journals/magazines when I get better at self-discipline and writing
  9. worrying about how much I should be posting online and how to find time to create interesting content
  10. googling “how important is an author’s social media presence or should you just lock yourself in an internet-free room and write the whole novel?”

It didn’t occur to me until yesterday that most of what I am doing is self-sabotaging. Most of that stuff felt really important when I was doing it. But no amount of classes and credentials, social media posts, or cups of tea is going to write this novel. I’m fascinated by how often I get in my own way without realizing it. Novels get written by people who sit down and write. So as hard as it is, I’m packing up the worry and settling down. I can worry about all these things again after “The End.”

I’ll leave you with this gem from the marvelous Seamus Heaney.

“Getting started, keeping going, getting started again – in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm…the guarantee of credibility in your lives, credibility to yourselves as well as to others.” ”

Seamus Heaney

xo
tonia

7 thoughts on “getting out of my own way

  1. That Seamus quote really seems like it applies to long loving as well. There’s a rhythm to marriage, and sometimes it’s necessary to “get started again.” Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  2. I think of these things not so much as self-sabotage as spinning wheels, which I have come to accept has its place in my creative process. It is a lot like actual birth–plenty of unseen things happening in the long, fruitless seeming hours of labor. I can spend most of the portion of a writing day, or week, or season doing the same, but then to my surprise out comes the poem, the book, the unexpected. I am with you wholeheartedly, but often remind myself that I can’t be pushing all the time…

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    1. Thank you for that perspective. I do agree, but I have a tendency to get in cycles where I just don’t work at all because of whatever is going on in my mind. I’m trying to recognize that and push through, but phew! Hard work! I so appreciate the gentleness in this comment. We need both the pushing and the resting to make it to the goal! xo

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  3. I know the steps to this dance by heart….I can close my eyes and cut a rug like nobody’s business. :). I think that of all the creative disciplines, writing must be one of the hardest….it’s a solitary thing, there’s not a whole lot to see until it’s finished (there are no aesthetically-pleasing ‘wip’ flatlays to be made with a half-finished first draft, after all) and it’s such an alien concept to so many people that they’re rarely able to relate to the agonies of the writing state. And while I can say that I loved every second of the time I used to spend painting, I despise most of every second I sit writing…I don’t love it until I’m done with it. So you see, it’s not hard to imagine how we occasionally get sidelined by doubt and imposter syndrome. 🙂 All that to say, I hear you. Loud and clear. xo

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