One of my highest held ambitions has been to write a book. It’s been a struggle and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It’s the wrong objective. It hasn’t held me in good stead at all. In fact, it’s helped me to develop some effective avoidance measures and sharpened some already existing ones.
I have a magnificent procrastination gene. Especially when it comes to starting something that scares me. It manifests itself in self-talk that can go any of the following ways. “I need to do more research”. “I want to rethink the way I’ll structure the narrative”. “That idea won’t work. Let’s spend time thinking about another one”. “What if it’s rubbish and I’ve been fooling myself”. And so on.
This blog has been a gentle lead in to the discipline and structure that my particular versions of procrastination and fear need to kick them out of the picture. Thanks to those who visit this site and those who’ve taken the time to comment, I’m building up a bank of courage. Other inspirations come from those writers on Twitter who every day share a piece of themselves – their success, their deadline stories, their application of different processes all demonstrating a delicate balance of structure and creativity.
My three words for 2010 as they apply to my writing are: discipline, courage and joy. I have two writing projects simmering as they have been for some years. This year I am bringing them to the boil by throwing the word linear out the window and starting anywhere I feel like. I’ve begun by writing a series of vignettes for one of the projects (a memoir for my daughters to capture stories that don’t often get shared in day to day conversation).
Now here’s the discipline part. I’m raising the bar – not so high as to terrify and not too low as to fall into old habits. Every day two hours and 2000 words. Never mind the quality as they say. I’m using a trick I heard one writer talk about recently on ABC Radio. A tea towel over the screen designed to confuse the inner critic enough that she’ll go away and find someone else’s shoulder to peer over.