No Pressure…Except What You Put On Yourself

Imagine you’re in a time warp. You’re really reading this on Monday. Because I meant to hit POST instead of SAVE DRAFT on Monday. Not Tuesday. I know you can handle this because you, my dear reader, have a wonderful imagination.

It’s Monday.

It’s summer.

Aside from one early appointment today and some errands to run, today was free (FREE!) to do some reading and writing.

So what did I do?

  • I made piles of magazines to go to the recycling center.
  • I clipped coupons from yesterday’s paper.
  • I completely cleaned off the desktop and files of one computer and made a backup file.
  • I enjoyed my coffee.
  • I snuggled the cats (and ended up wearing all their fur).
  • I emptied the vacuum cleaner.
  • I chatted with a friend.
  • I chatted with my mother.
  • I organized my jewelry.
  • I scrolled around on FB and Twitter.
  • AND…I finally sat down and wrote.

I plugged myself into Write or Die! for a fifteen minutes to get myself unstuck while writing about Jo Knowles’s Monday Morning Warm-Up – finishing the statement, “Before I die, I want to _______.” First about me. Then about my characters.

This should have been so easy, but I realized how hung up I was on what I was going to say that I never did get to my characters before the time was up.

I started with a long list that looks like my bucket list. But I was analyzing those options as I typed them. Did it qualify as being the one thing I would write? Did it represent me? Was I overanalyzing this? Seriously.

Oh, you bet I was. This was a classic case of procrastination.

So I have been thinking about what happens here.

I promised myself I would do this. I would write every day and I would get something accomplished by the end of the summer. I would do this for me.

I do love to write, but it’s hard work. But I think it’s safer to say that Donalyn had it all right there when she quoted Dorothy Parker in her post on Kate Messner’s blog:

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

I think it’s also a case of perfectionism. I want to write something I feel good after I have written it. I want to know I’m on the right path with this story or that blog post or the eulogy for one more pet (we’ve done this for a goldfish and a guinea pig here in the last few weeks) or whatever I happen to be stringing words together for.

And nothing felt like it was coming out right.

It’s all pressure I have put on myself. And not one bit of it is helpful at all.

I just needed to remember what Gae told my students – first drafts are crap. I have all kinds of time to do revision…but I can’t revise a blank screen or blank page.

Know what? Words started showing up, one after another, and organizing my sock drawer seemed less and less interesting once I remembered that.

So what did I finally post? After all the fussing was over?

This was so much harder than it seemed like it would be when I read it this morning! All day…and I’m still pondering it.

(I’m having a wishy-washy, super-fidgety day. A great day for considering possibilities, but a lousy day for getting much on paper.)

For me: Before I die, I want to spend a summer traveling wherever the winds take us in an RV. Or go whole-hog and chuck everything and live in a yurt. A yurt with wifi. :)

For my MC: Before I die, I want to tell the truth.

(For the record, I have no idea where my story is going – I resurrected something I found on my computer that I honestly have little recollection of writing. It’ll be fun to see what happens next…)

Maybe later this week I’ll have a better idea of where things are going. I’m aiming to have something to share on Gae’s Feedback Friday.

That’s a pinky-swear to myself.

Thank you for reading this on “Monday.” You may go back to your regularly scheduled Tuesday.

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