Might like to go to the show
To feel the warm thrill of confusion
That space cadet glow
Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?
A friend of mine, fresh from experiencing writerly success, has declared that “showing up” works for fiction writing. Sitting down at the computer and pulling the words from your brain appears to actually turn thoughts into stories and stories into publishable form. I need to hear this again and again, apparently. Because “showing up” is what I’m having problems with.
If I show up and do the work and the work isn’t good then I have to admit that I’m not good at what I think I’m good at.
If I show up and do the work and the work is good, then I have to deal with other people reading my thoughts and making assumptions and conclusions.
I’ve been reading Kurt Sutter’s blog and he has been talking about how the real essence of writing is moving past fear and that success comes when you get to that place where you push past the demons and go ahead with what you ought to be doing.
I think it’s that fear that keeps me from showing up.
But I’ve also noticed that my writing goes much better if I am also doing some sort of handicraft, be it knitting or colouring. I know I’m not six years old, but I swear to you, if you take a good abstract colouring book and some new crayons or coloured pencils* it gives your brain a massage, a stretch and a hot cup of coffee. When I spend some of my free time engaging the arts that way, it loosens the part of my brain where the stories themselves knit together. Where they go from black-and-white to colour. I have started to think of handicrafts as a sort of Writers’ Calesthenics.
And yes, The Book is going much better than it had been during the Summer of Stone Agony. Of course it cracks me up that the part of the book I’m at now involves a large and mysterious rock–> and that I’ve had an untoward number of kidney stones. It’s sort of creepily poetic. I wonder what will happen in my real life when I get to some of the other parts of the story. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dash off a chapter where someone is miraculously cured of disease.
*Yes, this is a biased plug. But if you have an iPad I highly recommend the Crayola ColorStudio HD app & stylus. The pictures are geared toward children–I’d love to see some abstract options–but they are most of them quite charming. And I love me some Griffin Technology products!