This picture? Elephant playing in waterfall? This should be you writing.
No, that is not an unkind remark about the way you look in those pants. I am not implying that your life is that of a caged animal forced to entertain strangers and attend to all bodily functions in front of a crowd that throws peanuts.
I am pointing out that many writers get caught in the “tortured artist” mindset. And if you are a product of the American work ethic (i.e. you don’t feel like a good person unless you are working, nose to the grindstone eighty hours a week), then you are likely to slip into a frame of mind in which you regard writing as laborious, exhausting, work.
This is compounded by the neurotic tendencies many of us have about the quality of our work, and made even gloomier if you are hoping that what you are writing might one day pay the bills.
I’m not judging. I recognize this behavior because I fall into it all the time (as do my closest writer friends, who shall remain nameless because I love them).
The trick is to be aware when you stumble into the Bad Attitude Sewer Hole.
If the act of writing is not its own reward then why bother? Life is short, you’re going to die, the world is full of beauty and adventures. There are about a gazillion things that you could be doing with your writing time that would be fun and rewarding.
The next time you find yourself acting like a dramatic third-grader flinging herself on the couch, back of hand to her forehead, moaning about how hard it is to be a third grader and nobody understands and she hates doing it and she wishes third grade would just be finished magically and she needs a piece of chocolate cake now or she is going to faint…. stop.
Creating is fun. It’s a blast. Exercising our boundless imaginations feels magnificent. It changes our reality and strengthens us.
Yes, there is much about the publication process that is discouraging. (I’m going to talk about the whole Money Thing tomorrow.) Yes, it takes longer than you want to write a novel and it is confusing trying to keep all those pesky chapters straight.
But you are playing. It’s OK to enjoy writing. If you do, the chances you’ll make time for it everyday increase dramatically.
“Writing gives me such enormous pleasure, and I’m a much happier (and therefore nicer) person when I’m doing it. There’s a place in my head that I go to when I write and it’s so rich and unexpected – and scary sometimes – but never ever dull.”
Today’s Prompt: Think of the most duty-bound or boring person you know. (Or make one up.) Think of an incident that will snap that person out of her daily drudgery and recognize that there is more to life than working and having folded sheets in the linen closet. Write the scene that changes this character’s life.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…