Butt in chair, fingers tickling keyboard. That’s the prescription, right?
It is fairly imperative, if you desire to be a writer, to write, but I read an article recently that made me question the mantra and its power in my life. Since my own writing has been hovering somewhere between squeamish and nonexistent, I though it relevant to share. You can find the article here: Writing Begins with Forgiveness…
The problem addressed is the unintended side-effect of the butt in chair mantra: Guilt. Guilt, which, we all know grows like sprouts in a jar, very quickly taking up every available space, leaving no room for anything else (like writing). Adhere to the sagely advice too rigidly and we can very quickly, and very unintentionally, paralyze ourselves with the guilt attached to busy days, lazy days, bad days, or plain old days where we have decided to do something else with our time (WHAT???).
A secret: We are not bad writers if we do not write every day. We all have lives that fuel the writing process. We all have plenty of other obligations, stressors, joys, and hobbies, and no matter how much we might like it, writing cannot always have the front seat for our energies. Always an essential reminder.
It is liberating to tackle the monster head-on, to miss a day of writing, even in the midst of NaNoWriMo *gasp*, and not waste any time worrying about it, but instead directing that energy forward. The only direction that matters.
I’m making more progress on my novel than I have in months. It is not the progress I imagined, but it is progress. I thank NaNo for getting me back in the chair. It feels good.
All the puppies and butterflies of getting back in the saddle are great, but of course there are ruts in the road. I have missed a day (maybe two) already. And rather than killing myself over it, or trying to make up for it, I am just staying the course as though I never skipped a beat. What amazing things we can do when we refuse to punish ourselves! Onward!
Butt in chair today? Sweet! Butt refused the chair, fingers found joy elsewhere? Deep breath, forego the self-flogging, and move on.
Write on, my writer friends,