Day Two

I’m going for consistency here so I’m at the keyboard once again though I’m not sure what it is I’m going to share. Today was not as stellar a writing day as Monday was, but I’m starting to get a little more perspective on the reality of what procrastination is all about. I have always believed that procrastination is fear.  Along that vein, I have identified some fears I let prevent me from writing, but this hasn’t been an entirely successful strategy. Awareness of what stops you from doing something you love does not automatically set you on the track to pursuing your passion wholeheartedly.

Among the dozen or so books that I am in the process of reading is Heather Sellers’ Page after Page – Discovering the Confidence & Passion You Need to Start Writing and Keep Writing (No Matter What!) She points out the common resistance we have to beginning anything new.  Instead of focusing on the reality that we will spend much time alone just writing and writing, we resist the very thing we want to do by deciding that the whole experience is ‘not what we expected it to be’ or by saying ‘this was not what I wanted.’

Pen, paper, and desire is all you need to write. Not the right space or time or materials. Just sit down and do it and don’t stop. Realize that you are going to be alone – a lot. This is a tough spot for me. I like people. I am drawn to people. I’m not incredibly outgoing, but I enjoy people even if it’s simply via Facebook, Twitter, or email. I crave connection. Ironically, I feel the same way about my words. I want to be with them, to know them intimately, create ideas and place with them and that’s difficult to do with the distraction of people.

Sellers suggests that the writer’s life should be filled with other writers (I’ve only gotten involved in a writing group about a year ago), multitudes of books (got that one covered!), discussions of books (working on that one), and an obsessive desire to carve out a portion of time each day to release the words we have locked inside us. This, of course is the hardest part – making time to write. I’m a very deadline-driven person, but also an excellent procrastinator who has always believed that I do my best work right before it is due. Granted I can produce writing quickly, but I’m old enough now to know that writing needs time to be created, simmered, and revised to be worthwhile.

Acknowledging that your writing is valuable enough to make time for is the first issue particularly if writing is not your main profession. How can I say that I didn’t have a chance to grade homework, do laundry, or make dinner if my priority is supposed to be home schooling and taking care of the house? Raising the status of your art above ‘hobby’ level is as much about self-esteem as it is about respecting your work itself.

So now, whether I’m writing a press release or a chapter of my latest manuscript, I try to give my creativity the time it deserves instead of shoving the task into my schedule when I can grab a few minutes.  My writing matters now regardless of whether I’m making a living at it yet. If you can’t reach this point as a writer when it’s a part-time thing, how will your art be important as a full-time venture? I’m thinking I would still be surviving on that last-minute attack-the-project mode letting the busy-ness of life give false meaning to my day rather than filling my day with my passion.

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  1. #1 by Barbara Kellam-Scott on May 6, 2010 - 12:41 am

    You’ve put your finger right on the problem, Carol: for each writer to find what the point is that works for her/im between scheduling and relying on the creative flow to require writing. It parallels so many other sublime and mundane decisions (right down to the classic longhand/keyboard question). But what tells me most clearly that you’ve learned to ask the right questions is that you dare to cal it art.

    • #2 by Carolyn Raynis on May 6, 2010 - 8:36 pm

      Barbara – Wow, you’ve nailed it exactly! Just the fact that I can do that and not ‘fear’ what anyone thinks is a huge turning point for me. I’ve never given my art the validity that it deserved before. I let more productive things become the important priorities in my life and that sapped the time and muse from my life. Three cheers for a new perspective. Thanks for reading! – Carol

  2. #3 by Susan Wilinski on May 6, 2010 - 7:45 am

    Great blog, Carol! I love all the points you make in this post, and it has certainly inspired me to do what I know I need to do today…write!

    • #4 by Carolyn Raynis on May 6, 2010 - 8:33 pm

      Susan – Yay! What more could I ask from the woman that inspires me? – Carol

  3. #5 by michaelwatsonvt on May 6, 2010 - 7:48 am

    Carolyn,

    I find just writing helps. I do have the sense that readers need some sense of structure and continuity, but suspect they can tolerate, even enjoy, a wide breath of writing and thinking on a blog. I also believe finding a personal voice helps. You have certainly done that in this post. I’ll keep reading.
    -Michael

    • #6 by Carolyn Raynis on May 6, 2010 - 8:32 pm

      Thanks, Michael. You are right, of course, just writing is the point and the more you write, the less the fear has any power. I guess this is my way of shedding the fears that I’ve taken on in the last 49 years and maybe using them in a way to build a new life. And if the account of my journey plants a seed somewhere…well, I couldn’t ask for more than that. :- ) – Carol

  4. #7 by DoAn (Antony) on May 6, 2010 - 8:16 am

    This is wonderful Carol! I am so happy that you are sharing your process while working to position writing in a more prominent place in your life. I fully support people embracing their creative interests. I believe such focus will help create a better world, one where people are investing their time in worthwhile activities that contribute to the cultural and intellectual richness of the world.

    The initial stages of coming back to yourself and your creativity can be challenging, like rekindling an old romance or friendship. But, I am confident that you will find rewards beyond your expectations. There is nothing more wonderful than living a life where you are fully engaged and no longer on autopilot!

    Congratulations! I look forward to following your process.

    • #8 by Carolyn Raynis on May 6, 2010 - 8:28 pm

      Anthony – I really appreciate the encouragement. Having the opportunity to see how your artistic life was evolving was very eye-opening for me and helped me to really start to think outside of a lot the preconceived ideas I had about living a creative life. I applaud your transparency and willingness to share! Carol

  5. #9 by Dana Bozza Deliso on May 6, 2010 - 11:38 am

    Loving that you are doing this Carol! I always love the inspirational quotes you share on FB and this is another way for me to get to know you more deeply. You may be the spark that lights my path because I have been praying for some way to awaken my mind , to rid me of the petty worries of day to day life, and then here I am reading your blog 🙂 I have never followed a blog before. You inspire me in so many ways. Lots of luck on your journey and I look forward to travelling with you. Dana

    • #10 by Carolyn Raynis on May 6, 2010 - 8:25 pm

      Dana – Thank you so much. I know the girls from high school reconnected for a reason and if my journey helps anyone then hallelujah and amen to that! It’ll be that much richer an experience. Carol

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