Another entry from the archives of my writing journal, this one from December 2015. This was my biggest breakthrough as a writer up until that point. And actually, is still!
When I think about doing something but don't actually do it, a lot of negative thought can pile on to the task. This is especially true about writing. When I start thinking about writing instead of actually doing it, I can get into such a low, mucky place that I have given a name to it: the Monster. It's heavy and mean and has horrible teeth that grab onto my ankles and suck me down into a pit of doubt (which feels a lot like quicksand).
Lynda Barry, in her amazing (and very meta!) book about writing, What It Is, noted that when she thought about writing it stopped the actual experience of writing. "It seems," she writes, "that thinking and experiencing are not the same thing."
THINKING about writing (or anything challenging or unknown) often clogs my mind full of...
Ouch. Yes, it's a mean, mean Monster.
But if I can shake off thinking mode and get myself to into doing mode, if I can actually sit down and write, do it instead of just thinking about it, I can almost always send the Monster packing!
DOING writing often leads to:
This lovely outcome happens when I'm present and focusing on the process, but it can all fall apart in a hurry when I get focused on the results; that is, thinking about what I'm doing while I'm doing it.
Then I try to remember: the Monster is just thoughts. That’s all it is. All I need to do is write, let it unfold moment by moment, no past, no future, just now, and the Monster thoughts will lose their hold.
Bye, bye little Monster!!