(This from a conversation in eSalon yesterday morning. Thank you Donna and Joni.)

Three writers. One plagued by a bad case of the “shoulds”: I should pick it up again, I should rewrite, I should submit, I should be dedicating more time. Should.

Tough word, that one. Because it’s not a word at all…it’s the invisible screen we throw our intentions against. The one we raise to keep ourselves from our real issues, fears, desires.

We all do it. All of us. We fidget and procrastinate and excuse. We find a fleck on the carpet that needs picking up. An email to check. Laundry to fold. And before we know it, the day is gone. Intention has been starved to death in a secret cubby of ourselves that we’ve never quite managed to find.

Joni gave voice to the source of it, in a litany of real-life concerns that could have come straight out of my head, word for word. We-of-the-screen are full of fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of rejection. Fear of our limitations. Fear of the steep uphill slog that publishing has become. We spend half our inner reserves of energy running from the fears that we refuse to name—we run ourselves ragged on our own personal emotional Treadmills from Hell—and we wonder why we are too exhausted to devote ourselves to the work that will only get done if we do it.

I am not saying “I accuse” in these reflections…except perhaps to myself. I am the me who has such a desperate dedication to the writing that it detaches me from the real world. The me who treads the writing waters ceaselessly, day after day, simply so I won’t drown. Not laudable. No choice. My screen may look different…my screen may seem to offer a clear view of a writer writing furiously…but it’s the same damned screen.

The thing I’ve learned: “Tomorrow” is the writer’s worst enemy. The creation of the thought, the assembly of the idea, the rewrite, the rewiring, the small perfection—they can only happen today. Now. This instant.

Now that I’ve got the screen pulled down, at least for the moment, I have to get working. See you later.

 

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