What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — can you eliminate it?
I have my demons like most writers. My quirks. My peccadilloes. The very fact that I’ve craved to use the word ‘peccadilloes’ in a sentence or phrase illustrates this very fact. And though I don’t sit in a darkened room talking to a raven, there are times where I’ve felt just that close.
What do I do each day that doesn’t contribute to my writing? I’m going to go out on a limb and say I probably do something similar to many writers. However, I will first digress here a moment and say I struggle with including myself in this group of ‘writers’. I suppose I just see this as something other people do and something I hope to do someday. However, I do know I have one thing in common with these other people, these writers. And that is I doubt myself.
Can this be eliminated? Intellectually, I know that this can be eliminated. Emotionally, I cling to fear and self-doubt like a woman clings to a size 2 after a News Year Resolution — she knows it’s probably not going to happen, but it doesn’t matter. In the heat of a sale anything can happen.
Each day I attempt to write something I go to battle with the whispers in my head. They tell many assorted things that discourage me from writing. The doubt begins to grow. I close my laptop. Talking to ravens is tempting. I turn on the Food Network instead.
When I talk to myself, it’s not pleasant. I am not good company to myself. I am not a nice a person. Especially when it comes to talking to myself about writing. I remind myself of all the things I have yet to finish and yet to begin. I overwhelm myself. I am overwhelming in general, but when I am the only audience member I can be like strong perfume in a small closet. I concentrate so much energy in being positive and encouraging to others I have forgotten how to be that for myself. I need to let go of fear and doubt, I realize this. This is not something I don’t know. I know exactly what is not contributing to my work. I know that holding on to the self-doubt is not helping me grow in “the craft” that is writing. And I suppose I must revisit this concept of what exactly is a writer and why I do not see myself as one. Yet this thought terrifies me, frankly, because if I am a writer and that Someday is Now, then what the hell will I do now that I’ve gotten here?
Truth be told, I really don’t know what to do once I realize that my Someday is Now. However, I do know:
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer …
Merely this and nothing more.
~~~ Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
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