Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The reading and then... the doing


This is a brief post as I am in my studio where I am not meant to be procrastinating by writing blog posts!

Yes, life is madness. But then there is also the human capacity for self-sabotage, the power of which never ceases to amaze me. This can be a force so much stronger than how much or how little time we have -- particularly when it comes to doing the things we want to do most.

Isn't that precisely the problem? Meaningless tasks are easy. But meaningful ones -- fear of failure is too simplistic a term for summing up the resistance we can feel to undertaking the things that might challenge us in profound ways.

That is why I have set myself a very basic goal: 750 words a day, 2 days a week. That should give me 60,000 words by the end of the year.

(That is of course 750 words of fiction, very much in addition to the stupid number of words I write in my other pen-pushing capacities as journalist, blogger, letter-writer and general scribe.)

A friend recently introduced me to The Writing Coach, founded by novelist Jacqui Lofthouse. This site is full of sound, no-nonsense advice, especially her "Ten ways of finding time to write when you have no time".

She's into the "mosaic" approach (not the masochist approach, which seems to be my default setting!), ie. each word a single tile in a picture that will eventually make sense when all the tiles are laid.

Now back to the challenge of acting on that advice, not just reading it as yet another way of putting off the inevitable...

7 comments:

ronnie said...

I know the self-sabotage group all too well .... sigh... look here I am READING blogs. writing comments when I should be in the studio..... sigh....

sister outlaws said...

Thanks for the link! Your words ring true - fear of failure is an over simplification for the complex reasons we self sabotage. Breaking things down into achievable chunks sounds VERY sensible. Good plan. Oh and sorry to distract you with writing this comment! Should I write or fold up the washing??? Ah... the mindless ease of meaningless tasks....

Mary Trunk and Paul Sanchez said...

Sometimes, for me, it's all about putting myself in motion and just starting - motivation and inspiration come later. Thanks for the post and good luck! And thanks for the link to the Writing Coach.

genevieve said...

Agree, Jacqui's work is great. I was a blog friend of hers before I read one of her novels and used her e-book - I have little to show for it!! but I can recommend it. She has a very sane and refreshing approach to creative work.

Karen said...

Likewise - shouldn't I be 'doing' instead of 'reading'? I think those repetitive tasks like washing the dishes are often more preferable because at the end of ten minutes something has been achieved - the dishes are clean. If I sit down and write for ten minutes - I may not have anything so productive to show!

Rachel Power said...

Yes, we need to stop comparing 'achievements'. There is no comparing a stack of washed dishes against a page of writing. As a slow writer, I do find it very difficult not to berate myself about what else I could have achieved in two hours when all I've got to show for that same time invested in writing is three half-decent paragraphs. But that brings us back to the question of why we create, ie. because we need to. And the reason why setting aside sacred time for that creativity is so important, so that it was never time for washing dishes, anyway!

today i said...

you are so correct 'meaningless tasks are so easy to do'
and it just remind me I have to go and do something I should be doing!