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18 November 2015

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 November 18, 2015
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Shhhhh…. Don’t tell anyone. But for the past two months, I’ve not been writing. I’ve been so overwhelmed by work and life, that I’ve let my pages slide into the background.

 

I know that all it takes to make me happy is to open that file, to give myself the gift of time, and yet recently, my writing project has fallen to last place on my ‘to do’ list.

 

Are you secretly not writing too?

 

Do you avoid scheduling time to work on your book or screenplay? Do you stare at the blank screen and get so intimidated that you immediately start cleaning the house to avoid that terrible feeling of having to produce pages?

 

Do you make excuses about how busy your life is? “Oh My God! My kids are making me crazy, I have four soccer practices to take them to every day!” Or, “Work is insane. There’s no time! I get home at eight pm and I’m wiped.” Or “Once things calm down, I’m going to dive right in.”

 

All of the above was me. I’d been making excuse after excuse to not prioritize my writing, and a couple of weeks ago, I was so crispy fried I broke down at 4pm crying, trying to slam down some coffee so I could keep working, but to no avail. I was a shaking, sobbing, mess.

 

And yet, I knew the exact cure for what ailed me.

 

I thought long and hard about why I wasn’t writing. And of course, it was the same litany of reasons that have always plagued me (fear, overwhelm, martyrdom– you have your own nifty combination, tailor made just for you, I’m sure!) But I made a decision. I decided my writing was important. Even more important than my fear and overwhelm, and all the other stuff I have to do.  And I’ve been writing for an hour and a half each day since then.

 

Guess what? I feel calmer, happier, and more connected to other people because I am attending to my heart.

 

That’s right. My heart.

 

Here are some quotes I gathered for myself this past week that I wanted to share with you. They are helping me laugh, replenish, commiserate, and recommit to my pages.

 

I hope they help you too…

 

“10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Write.
Write more.
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
Keep writing.”
Brian Clark

 

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
Terry Pratchett

 

“Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted people’s parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.”
Virginia Woolf, Orlando

 

“Just as a good rain clears the air, a good writing day clears the psyche.”
Julia Cameron, The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

 

“The mind I love most must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”
Katherine Mansfield, Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Complete Edition

 

Take Action! Are you tending to your writing? That tangled orchard filled with traps and black holes and screaming voices of doubt, but also scattered with deep pools and flowers?

 

Sit down. Write. I did and I feel SO MUCH better.

 

xo Pat

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