Dread, Procrastination and Bad Hair Days

Sep 8 2011, 2:12 pm in , , , , ,

You, my faithful blog-gobblers, know I’m all about the “write every day” thing.

I know. I’m militant. I stand by this.

But.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the days when this doesn’t work out so well. Jami Gold wrote an interesting post today about giving yourself permission as a writer, on a number of levels. One of the things she touched on was the off-day and letting that go.

Everyone has off days.

You know what I mean. The Bad Hair Day. Those days that, for whatever reason, things just don’t flow right. If we weren’t committed to dealing with careers and families and things like keeping fed, we’d likely just crawl back into bed on those days and hide under the covers.

Few of us have that luxury though. We are committed to things that must get done every day, so we forge ahead, painful and unproductive as it may be.

That’s my point with the write every day thing.

For some reason, writing – maybe any creative endeavor, I don’t know – brings with it Dread and Procrastination. These evil twins perch on a writers shoulders and whisper of other things that need doing. Dread worries that the the plot line is muddied, that everyone will hate the book anyway, that maybe this is all a Terrible Mistake. Procrastination wonders what people are saying on Twitter, if any email has arrived and, oh, there are dishes in the sink! The twins have a common goal: to keep you from writing. I don’t know where they come from, but every writer seems to have some form of these nasty buggers.

The reason you sit down to write every day is to shake Dread and Procrastination from your shoulders.

Wherever they draw their power, it’s thwarted by habit. By ritual and sacred space. They fade away in the face of it until their little voices can’t be heard. That gives you the space to write. Whether that goes well is something else entirely.

Sorry.

But, I offer this. Those days when the words don’t flow and you stare at the screen? They totally count.

That’s writing, too.

If writing was only tippy-tapping words onto the page, then monkeys *could* do it. What we do is story-telling. We fit words to the story, yes, but that’s only one piece of an enormous subterranean process.

Hence the staring at the screen.

And the gazing off blindly into the distance.

The dreamthink.

So, I totally agree, Jami. Sit down to write every day, if only to shut up Dread and Procrastination, but I like your idea of Permission. What happens once you engage is all good.

No matter how your hair looks.

Comments

2 Responses to “Dread, Procrastination and Bad Hair Days”

  1. Jami Gold says:

    Excellent post! I’m so glad you delved into this more. And I love your point about reasoning behind *write every day*. You’re absolutely right that it’s more about creating good habits to get rid of Dread and Procrastination than about being successful at writing well *every* day.

    If I could hug this post, I would. :)

    • jken says:

      I’m glad you wrote about your experience, Jami. I’d had this topic on my list for a while, so you provided the perfect impetus. Maybe in some perfect world out there, we’ll write WELL every day!

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