Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trainwreck, or My Life as an Imperfect Writer

I've been playing catch-up the past few days after more than a week of illness knocked me out of commission.  One of my biggest frustrations when I deal with these setbacks, however, isn't the piled-up laundry or the grocery shopping that keeps getting postponed.  It's the fact that my writing schedule/discipline gets gutted every time.  In fact, it's as if I can't ever really develop a good schedule because every time I build the least bit of momentum, sickness takes me out again.  I miss the regular, disciplined writing of graduate school.  My writing feels stuck because I never write for enough consecutive days to get back in the swing of things.

Hence the return of my blogging.  I know I need to be sitting in front of my MacBook on a daily basis.  It doesn't matter if I make progress on my novel or most recent short story every single time I work.  I just need to keep writing.  It's the same advice every writer I admire gives.  Just keep writing.  Daily.  And for whatever reason, I am able to keep up with blogging without the massive procrastination that I usually employ (and yes, I know that writers are famous procrastinators.  I tell myself this frequently to at least try to arrest the shame spiral.)  So once I tap out my latest blog entry, I'm already in place for my writing and editing.  That's the strategy anyway.

My last blog ended with my completion of graduate school, so it's been a while since I've done this, though I've read tons of blogs in the interim.  I just wasn't sure what direction/content/etc. I would want for a new blog.  The world doesn't need another "mommy blog," and I certainly wasn't going to bring anything new to that party.  And as for my writing, well, I've been so sporadic that I felt like a fraud writing blog posts solely about that.  I read voraciously, but I didn't want to just do book reviews.  That's when I decided -- the blog was just like my other writing.  At this point, what I write is far less important than the fact that I'm writing.  Typing out words on a daily basis is what is going to bring everything back together (including my sanity.)

Ever since I completed my MFA, I feel like I've been putting limits on my writing -- limits to the point of paralysis.  I'm my own worst editor.  There are all these voices in my head: professors, fellow grad students, writers whose advice I've read, and it's been really difficult to drown them out and just type.  So I have given myself to permission to write badly (as I've been told to do repeatedly) in this blog.  Don't wait for the brilliantly witty and well-constructed post to come to you in a dream.  Just write it, check for typos, and get on with it.  Because life is too short for perfection.  Here's hoping for a week where I read and write more than ever before.

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