TAKE ONE: MY WRITING LIFE ON NEGATIVITY
It’s challenging to write a blog post [stops here to answer the phone] on gratefulness vs. writerly grumbling, especially when #nanowrimo [stops, checks to make sure she has the hashtag correct, stays stopped to Google common usage of the word hashtag because spellcheck underlined it, and now she just noticed the word spellcheck is underlined too Grrrrrrrr] folks find themselves closing in on [wordy] self-imposed deadlines. [Likely sounds a tad snarky so maybe should change, plus break the habit of using ly words, even when talking to self].
I can already hear the chorus of Who has time to even grumble?! coming at me. [Not good business to accuse your audience of not only grumbling, but grumbling at you. Plus, “coming at me” is wordy so should likely change to “firing” or something snappier.]
Furthermore [I think I overuse that word], who’ll have time to read this anyway? I have to pry open my entire life to find time to write this piece. [Why did I even sign up to do this with everything else on my plate, like the holidays zooming my way and I’m already overly stressed and—AND STOP USING LY WORDS! WHY CAN’T YOU REMEMBER SUCH A SIMPLE RULE?!?!?!?!?!?]
Why even write this article, or, for that matter, tell any story, fiction or non, when there’s so much competition? [Question of the day.] Plus, I feel a little out of pocket lately [I think that dated phrase reveals my age; consider something else] in the creativity category ["creativity category"? Oh, brother, Charlene] this week. [Honesty check: it’s more like a month.] I’m sure I’ll just write drivel [runs synonym check to make sure using correct word … Yep, you're writing drivel!] anyway. [Can cut “anyway”; it’s understood. Also, NOTE TO SELF: semi-colons are out again. I’ve seen several editors Tweeting lately about HATING them! Reevaluate usage throughout. Also, your interjected notes have changed tense and POV, which is confusing and unprofessional.]
[Can no longer tell the difference as to when she's talking to herself or the audience... probably talking third person now because can't even OWN this mess, it's so putrid!]
[Stops typing. Pounds desk.]
[Charlene, why do you write so much CRAP? Why bother even trying since you are a TERRIBLE WRITER!! ]
**With disgust , closes file.**
Round and round I go. Endless circles of negativity netting nothing but defeat. Sound familiar?
Thankfully there’s a better way.
For a good writing ride, choose positivity, the writer’s golden ticket.
I—and yes, I am claiming myself now, purposefully acknowledging my presence as The Author of this article—sit down and allow my fingers to hover above my keyboard for a moment while I give thanks. The computer booted right up and a nice clean uncorrupted file opened. Electronics are working. Hurray!
I’m thankful I’m healthy enough to type and admit I am a better human being when I make time to write. I remind myself that encouraging other writers makes me happy.
Even if my first few sentences/paragraphs/pages to this article or my WIP prove drivel, so what? [Pauses, gives thanks for the DELETE key.] It’s good to cut myself some slack, to remember that I, too, am One With the Quirky Writerly Universe where do-overs happen behind the scenes.
Writers are sometimes spastic and disorganized, and that is okay. Because other times … Oh, how we fly, catapulting winged words into spirals of wondrous spellbinding story.
Challenges abound, doubts rise, distractions beckon. But when interruptions and negative thinking gather to attack our sacred and precious mission, we need to remember that we own the power to cast them down, ignore their siren calls.
Shortly into TAKE ONE, I should have let the machine answer the phone. Not many calls are urgent. I could have pointed to my head and said STOP IT! STOP THE NEGATIVITY! Just write. Fix/check later. Then, I should have smiled. Smiling helps. I am not making that up. But as truthful as those ideas are, why waste any more time with a shoulda/coulda party? Setting a good example, I’ll just get on with it!
I encourage you to begin your writing with an intentional moment of gratefulness. Then type full bore, unchecked and unhampered by your own nonsense. Activate your personal pop-up blocker: shut down Internet and phone distractions, negative niggles, spell-check and self criticism. You can handle them another round, but not today. If you continue to interrupt flow by giving attention to every self doubt and grammatical error, you’ll eventually double-clutch enough times to strip your creative gears, leave your disjointed wheels spinning sans a single imaginative spark to move your story forward.
Give that gnarly blinking cursor the hairy eyeball, a head-shaking NO, NOT THIS TIME! Then smile and keep writing, even if you’re double drivelling. If you keep writing and smiling long enough, you might outrun that distracting posse, that terrible dark band of dream stompers. Maybe you’ll get so far in front of them they’ll give up and stop following you. At least for awhile.
When you finally run out of good juju (or mediocre juju, or have at least written what feels like a thousand words of garbage, for within those, a few will prove worthy), save and close that file and give thanks.
Fire a wink at your monitor. What could it hurt? What if your characters are watching from the other side? Why not woo them, make them love you, yearn to come play with your happy self the next time you sit down. Why should they have to tolerate one more session of your cranky scatterbrained self? No wonder they sometimes don’t want to cooperate, if that’s all you bring to the table.
So pucker up. Throw your characters and that blinking cursor a kiss. Lock negativity in another room and get writing!