Sunday, September 6, 2009

Just Write!

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." --Mahatma Gandhi

A few weeks back, I had been struggling to understand some of the psychological patterns in my life. Many of you probably relate. How often do we consciously want to move forward yet take action (or inaction) resulting in a setback? How often do we yearn for proof of our success, or better yet, of our worth? The ruminations lead to worry, which amplifies the insecurity that triggered the dismal cycle of self-doubt.

My own searching resulted in a night of revelations, which I spoke of in my essay, Taking Risks vs. Riding the Brakes. My joy over this breakthrough tumbled into an email exchange with my friend, Misty Evans. Her response (which she generously allowed me to post) prompted even more thought. She's paraphrasing Eckhart Tolle. Here's an edited version:

"Satori is the Zen term for a moment of Presence, where you step out of the voices in your head. When you face your insecurities, you rise up out of the clutter of thoughts and the turmoil they cause. You achieve Presence."

This is familiar stuff that we forget repeatedly *snort* yet as writers we need to remember. Be Here Now. Don't fret over how your novel will end or if the pieces will tie together; it's only a first draft. Just write. Don't freak out about sending out queries or the endless "what if's?" in your writing career. Just write. Don't panic at the deadlines or the promotion or the submissions. Just WRITE!

Be Here Now. Write in the moment. Feel the presence of your characters. Revel in the story you're telling. FACE your insecurities.

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully."It's the same thing," he said.A. A. Milne

There's only one valid reason to be a writer. The Love of Writing. Yet we all know those pressures build up and we forget how exciting and fulfilling and fun it can be! Often times those pressures can be whisked away by those three magic words. Be Here Now. Forget, even for just a few moments, the worries that rattle your world. Breathe deep and remind yourself there is only one moment that matters, only one moment that exists. Now. WRITE now. *smile*

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ---Buddha

If a particular passage is sticking, pull up another document and let your imagination play. Often it's nothing more than an unacknowledged fear impeding your progress. Fear of "bad writing" can hold us back . We become paralyzed, frozen by a glimpse into an imaginary future where our book doesn't meet expectations. We forget it's only a first draft because we project that fear into the future. Be Here Now.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and remember the thrill of writing. Feel the excitement, the euphoria, the absolute JOY of writing. Do you love to write? Then shout it out (though it may be wise to shut the door first *grin*) and let those words rock your world. I Love To Write! I Love To Write!

Now, one more exercise. Close your eyes and picture all those worries and concerns as thought balloons. One by one, release those balloons and let them drift away. Surround yourself with the indescribable joy of Being A Writer.

This week our focus is clear. Let's all Be In The Moment, and remember to Just WRITE!

"Forever is composed of nows."Emily Dickinson

Now you can tell me, how have you faced down your own fears or broken through psychological patterns of insecurity? Any times when you felt overcome yet persevered?

--Chiron O'Keefe
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between The Lines.


Liena Ferror said...

Great post, Chiron.

I have to admit I tend to think ahead a bit too much at times. Then my writing suffers until I get myself back to the here and now.

Again, great post!


Kathy Holmes said...

You're right - the best part is in the writing - for me that means the first draft. The best part is in the practicing of the art - whatever art that is. Your post about music last week started me off having a fabulous day that day - all because I was practicing my love of my art. But I sometimes forget that because I also want a particular outcome. And then I freeze. So thanks for kickstarting the thaw... :)

Chiron said...

Hi Liena!

I really relate. Even worse, the further ahead I go, the more a muddle my mind becomes. Like you, I do best when I ground myself.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Chiron said...

Hey Kathy!

So glad to contribute to the thaw. *grin*

Thanks for jumping in!


Celia Yeary said...

CHIRON--it must be in the water. On our The Book Spa in recent days, we've discussed our insecurities and roadblocks. It seems most of us go through this much of the time. From my view, these times happen when we're waiting for word on a submission, when an editor says "I like it but you'll need to rewrite it," when a rejection arrives, or when your critique partner tells you you're way off base.So, we have many triggers to cast us into the black water--the experienced and wise writer will have developed wasy to conquer her failings--or perceived failings--and move on. What to do? Well, just write. You said, sometimes we forget the joy of just writing. That is so true. We more often write with an objective in mind--so I'll try to "just write" and forgetmy target publisher or whatever. Thanks--Celia

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Chiron,

I'm dealing with the issue right now. I've got to quit worrying about if what I'm writing is good enough. Just write. I can always come back, revise and make it better. Just have to get the words on the page.

Misty Evans said...

Hi Chiron. I'm glad you nudged me today to read this. I've been questioning my current wip and was ready to throw it out and start over. Instead I read this and emailed a crit partner who told me "don't you dare scrap that manuscript!" Like Linda, I'm moving forward and know I can and will revise it down it the road. For now, I just have to keep writing!

Thanks, dear!

Chiron said...

Hello Celia!

You're so welcome. It is magical how the messages we tune into seem to connect. I've found in the years doing this blog that many writers seem to tune into the same issues simultaneously. It's gratifying to know the focus I choose, often simply as a self-reminder, is also on target for others!

Thanks so very much for stopping by.


Chiron said...

Hi there Linda!

I think we're all tuned into the same page here! All last week I repeated the advice penned in my essay. Yup, there's always time to revise, always the opportunity to change. Better to write five pages and keep one, than write no pages at all!

Thanks for your comments, my dear!


Chiron said...

Write ON, Misty!

You're such an engaging and entertaining author, it's hard to believe you struggle with the same doubts we all go through! Just more proof that underneath the glossy covers, all authors share the same heart. *smile*

Glad I could offer you a boost when you needed it. Now finish the sequel to Witches Anonymous so I can read it!! *laughs* You know how much I loved the first one.


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