I am a writer, therefore I write.
My boyfriend told me not too long ago that I spend a lot of time talking about the reasons why I should be writing but very little time actually sitting down and doing it.
And it’s true. I’ve spent the last several months analyzing why I should be writing, but I’ve gotten very little work done. My therapist told me that creative people often have anxiety because their creative brain is able to imagine every possible bad scenario in every situation. I loved this idea. This is why I always feel better when I’m writing — because I am channeling all that creative energy into art. When I’m not writing, my brain is free to create all kinds of crazy scenarios that turn me into a paranoid monster. This is why my creativity is so important to me. This is why I should be writing, I thought.
And yet, I still did not write.
The act of sitting down and writing is quite simple. But just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it is easy. For me, it is difficult to let go of the thought of who will be reading what I’m writing instead of just writing it for myself, because I enjoy it and because it is good for me. And then I become paralyzed with fear because already, the thing that I haven’t written yet isn’t good enough. Or it’s too vulnerable. Or people will judge me.
But, I am a writer, therefore I write. This is what I tell myself.
So I sit down. I pull out my journal, and my fiction notebook. I set a timer for 25 minutes. The only rule is that I must write — it does not matter what I end up writing. I can journal nonsense for 25 minutes or I can write a short story. I can write a silly poem in my journal or I can work on my novel.
And then, amazingly, I do write. I write pages and pages in my journal and then an idea comes to me. And I start a short story.
And then the next day, I finish it.
And yes, I am in a better place because I have been writing. I feel less anxious, more focused. Calmer. More like myself.
The trick for me is usually just to do the thing that I’m afraid of. And it’s almost never easy. But it is always worth it.
What I’m Reading
I just finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and it was truly excellent. My friends have been telling me to read it forever. Thank you to Kammi for giving it to me for Christmas because I finally got it at the top of my TBR. The characters are so incredibly well developed and captivating, the story is compelling, and it made me feel things. If you haven’t read the book yet, please do. Also — I’ve heard the movie is just as good. I’m getting to that next.
Not sure what the next book I’m picking up is. I’m dabbling in both The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (nonfiction) and The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda (poetry, another Christmas gift). I’m still waiting for The Tatooist of Auschwitz from the library for my little book club with my friends Kammi and Cassie, so I’ll be picking that up as soon as it comes in.
What I’m Writing
This week I’m going to pick up my novel again to start reading through it in preparations for the full third draft. I’ve been trying out some short stories and wrote one new one this week. I’m hoping to get a novel-in-stories started soon but it’s been slow going.