Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tricks & Props
Years ago I wrote an elaborate description of the perfect writing room. I decided that I needed an antique oak writing desk placed strategically in front of a large naked window with a scenic view. I also had to have an over-stuffed chair so I could relax while conjuring breathtaking prose. I envisioned rich mahogany bookshelves bulging with volumes from all of my favorite authors. And of course I could only use a state of the art laptop (with the best music apps) to write with.
I really believed that I needed all of the above mentioned props…and that I couldn’t possibly write without them. What I didn’t realize was that this was just a clever way for my subconscious to trick me into putting my writing off. I’m assuming the reason for such self-deception was to divert my fragile ego from the real issue…which was that I lacked confidence in my ability to actually write an amazing novel and I was terrified of failure.
Procrastination distracted me from facing my fears with his reassuring stories about how I not only deserved a wonderful writing space, but I NEEDED one in order to make contact with my muse. Procrastination is clever. He knows how to pitch a story… and provide an alibi. I’m guessing he used to be a politician or a lawyer.
I put off writing anything serious for years; carrying my novel within me, like the fertile seeds of motherhood, waiting in crimson silence for conception.
Then one day, while cruising some yard sales, I purchased a book entitled Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. She spoke about writing in an authentic way by ignoring the rules; thus allowing the uniqueness of the writer’s voice to reveal itself. Reading this little paperback literally changed my life…and it only cost me twenty five cents!
Soon my desire to write shadowed my desire for my imaginary room and I began jotting down thoughts. I wrote while waiting in the doctor’s office, and at red lights; scribbling on used McDonald’s napkins. I wrote at the grocery store using the back of my shopping list, and on bumpy paper towels at the dinner table; pushing aside my food in order to satisfy an even deeper hunger. I was driven… and I loved every electrical thought provoking minute of it.
With Natalie’s help, my muse had wrestled procrastination to the ground. A year later I completed my very first novel. It’s a beautiful work of fiction entitled Cosette’s Tribe, and I’m as proud of it as a new mother is of her first child.
If you’re procrastinating about a dream, chances are it’s the flimsy efforts of an overly sensitive ego trying to save face. Stop waiting for unnecessary props and do what you love now. Don’t save for dancing lessons before stepping onto the dance floor, for it’s in doing that we learn and in living that we live… get out there and do something!
Posted by Leah Griffith at 6:13 AM