Out comes the whip. We’re lazy, stuck, worthless. Our ideas are shallow, uninteresting, tepid. What’s our problem? Why can’t we just crank out pages like some literary version of a well-oiled machine?
I’ll tell you why not. Because this writing thing is hard. It always feels good to have written, but it rarely feels good to sit down to write. If I were to describe my own physical process, it’s like a nearly-unbearable tension within me slowly begins to rise. A welling up of so many thoughts and feelings that it feels I might explode. And yet, at the same time, there is the seeming impossibility of finding the words, of knowing what’s next, of getting it right. Shoulders tense. Jaw tightens. Eyes sting. Breath becomes shallow. Mind buzzes in circles endlessly. The page is a solid wall at which I must run, full tilt, and only by running, only by hurling myself straight at it might it crumble and give way. But it appears so solid! So unforgiving! Sometime I bang against it, and limp away, bruised and bloody. Other times, it turns out the wall was just a mirage. But there’s only one way to find out.
So. How to begin? Improbably enough, we must begin with kindness.”
The brilliant Dani Shapiro, a modern sage of the pleasures and perils of writing and the creative life, reflects on getting to work.
Once you get this you have to say 5 nice things about yourself publicly and then send it to 10 of your favorite followers (not back to me, I did it already). Thinking good thoughts about yourself is hard but it will make you feel better so give it a go, for the sake of spreading positivity! :D x
I received this post ages ago from one of my favorite followers, just someone I found once through the Tumblr passageways. Like calls to like, and whatever the way we do. It was probably when I was starting to acquaint myself with photographs of the country which I had previously paid so little attention to, but that I would be moving to in a short time.
I saved it for a moment when I needed it. And it is now. I was reading through some old posts from May, and realizing that actually, well, I’m OK. Lately, I’ve been feeling loathsome. I don’t have a good reason for feeling this way. In fact, last night I was time traveling and trying to think of my three biggest creative critics in my past, and I could honestly only think of two, and I think the third is me. Something about judgments, and doubting, and insecurities, and especially comparisons… and well, that’s not the point of this at all so never mind. Here is an exercise of something different.
Five nice things about me:
This felt good. I am going to send this out to my favorite followers… and even if you wait months to do it, I hope you will. You are worth the effort.
poet Lemn Sissay