Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Not much to report around here. Busy on various projects, including my latest WIP. Halfway through the *new* first chapter, and have turned it in to my writing group for critique. Busy editing this week, and trying to prepare for a local art festival.

Reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, which was given to me for my birthday by a writing buddy, and boy, do I connect with her.

I always think it's just me, when I sit down to write and nothing happens for the first hour of it but my brain rebelling, my internal critics raging, the internet distracting me, the feelings of failure. But I'm not alone.

I know dozens of artists have written that they go through the very thing, but I always forget and think it's just me, and that I'll never overcome it. But look! I'm not alone in my writer crazies! Here's what Lamott says about it:

"So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on your computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind--a scene, a locale, a character, whatever--and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind. The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They are the voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, guilt. Also, severe hypochondria. ...

...Yet somehow in the face of all this, you clear a space for the writing voice, hacking away at the others with machetes, and you begin composing sentences. You begin to string words together like beads to tell a story. You are desperate to communicate, to edify or entertain, to preserve moments of grace or joy or transcendence, to make real or imagined events come alive. But you cannot will this to happen. It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. So you might as well go ahead and get started."

I need to trust in the process, accept the hard work, find the strength to chase away the inner critics and persist. But above all, I need to find that faith she talks about. I have to have faith that no matter how agonizing and difficult the writing is, when I sit down, and quiet my mind, the words will come.

Because they do come, even if it's at a snail's pace. :D


You can check out here book on Amazon (disclosure: this is an affiliate link). Or pick it up at the library, or wherever you like to get your book goodies.

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