Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
I had an awkward response in 2010 where I listed everything that was a distraction.
For 2015, it was simply fear. It’s a big word, yes, but for me, it’s the fear that I cannot produce anything of value. Then everything I do—sleep, cook, eat, make money (by doing UX, sending email to clients, updating protfolio)—is about not confronting that fear. I do all of those things to procrastinate so that I don’t have to be full frontal with the beast.
In 2003, last year, and this year, I participated in nanowrimo. Last year and this year, it was more of an effort to get my ideas on paper. Initially, it was difficult—the idea of putting something unknown and uncertain down. But by the first and second week, I got the hang of it, spilling out words to make whatever I wanted to do. But there was that lingering fear. But what could I do except to face and say, “I will write nonsense, trash, crap, and just put it down here.”
And surprisingly, through that confrontation, I was able to churn out some good stuff. Not a lot, but something. But there’s something completely awkward about that method. The brute force of it all, the wasting way of my brain cells just to meet the word count (50,000 words in one month). Do we run over 20 miles just to say that we did it? Do we put a house together with wood and nails just because we did it once in a miniature form? It’s strange how it goes.
There’s a proverb that I included in the story when the main character struggled with inner turmoil to tell the truth:
A lion who goes up the mountain to find food is more likely to be hunted and torn down. But the truth of the matter is: what if the lion never goes? Then the lion will never have the chance of finding food.
“I love that proverb,” a fellow wrimo told me.
“I made it up,” I said proudly.
“It feels so real,” he said.
What if I hadn’t even written? What if?