Monday, July 23, 2012

writer's block (fear of the blog part 2)

The month of July is characterized by two things for me: 
1) a solid week of listening to Christmas music.
2) fear of the blog. 

Last July, I experienced "fear of the blog."  Symptoms included constantly thinking about what you could write about, halfway writing a dozen posts, never publishing any of them, and then feeling bad for being such a lazy writer.  All of which is bad blood for writing. 

And this July, true to form, in addition to listening to the Pandora Christmas station (it's a good one--I recommend it), I have been dreading and dreading and dreading this little space of internet cloudpuff I've created. 
It comes down to this:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not." (Ira Glass) 

Thanks Ira.  And yep, I know it's not that good.  I have big dreams of writing and photographing and being "artsy" or whatever (not to be confused with being hipster), but lately, when I write something, I can't bring myself to hit that PUBLISH button when I see that it is less than all my grand scheming had imagined it would be. 

So I shelf it and think, "Well, I'll come back to it tomorrow and really polish it up."   

Which I never do, of course. 

Sometimes wanting things to be perfect is just too heavy!  I need to stop expecting that of myself.  Ira says I do too:

"But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
"It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” 
Oh and John Talbot said something similar when he told me to relax about my thesis. I was stressin about how in the world would I convey all the *brilliant* discoveries I'd made in researching this literature?! There were too many and they were too vastly and intricately connected to explain them all in one thesis!  The work of literary study is a constant awakening to an enormous and sublime network of ideas and meaning.  How could I convey that in one measly little paper?  He said I didn't have to.  My audience hadn't had two years to think through all the minute details of the project, and hence wouldn't know they were missing out if I were only to share one small sliver of my research.  It'd be new to them and mind-blowing and all those great things.  

I forget that sometimes--that when other people read my writing, it's all new and fresh to them. They haven't been living in my head for all the minutes I spent creating it. They didn't see what I'd dreamed the thing to be, and hence have no idea if it fell short.  How can they be disappointed when it's all new to their eyes?  Hence, I say any movement towards creation is good, because even if the creation ends up weaker than you'd hoped, you still brought into existence a thing pointed in the direction you are aiming for, and hence you inch yourself in that direction as well.

And most important, as Bryce, a fellow literary person (not hipster either), said:
The most important thing is that you keep writing.

So for all those of you artists (aka: everybody) who have ever been overwhelmed by just how far your creations are from what you'd dreamed they would be, here's a little lighthearted post to break the bad karma and bring in some good fresh air.

This lighthearted post shall begin like this:
Everything went wrong this weekend.  (Annnnd I'm apparently being loose with the term "light-hearted.")  First, the camera store screwed up my order.  Second, my sister killed my basil plant.  (Believe me, this is more traumatic than you might think.)  Then this morning I ruined my new dress (boo), the road to my house was blocked off, and my cousin jumped off a rock in our backyard and broke her leg.

I know these aren't devastating things (well, all except the basil. (jk, jk, the broken leg was pretty bad)).  But the stink of it was mostly just the futility of the whole weekend.  You know, where you set out bright-eyed in the morning, ready to slay dragons and build castles, but then you can't get out the front door without some silly little thing going wrong.  That's how all weekend felt.

So here's the happy part: while said cousin was in the hospital getting her leg fixed, I got to babysit the two younger cousins, ages 3 and 4.  We raced HotWheels and talked on pretend telephones and I explained to them what a cast was and wrapped their legs up in a bandage to show them how it worked.  And I realized, you know, someday when I have kids, I'm gonna like it.  And I'm gonna be a rockin mom who plays HotWheels and paints fingernails and builds blanketforts and goes on jungle expeditions in the backyard and sings lullabyes every night.  So you better be excited little kiddies who are coming my way someday.  Because I'm waiting for you and it's gonna be F.U.N.

1 comment:

  1. So so true. I love this. You will be the best.