Today is the first day of February which means it’s the first day of trying to write a book.
To quote myself, I think every writer secretly expects to sit down, open a word document, entitle it “my book” and begin. We assume that if we simply sit down and try, the words will come naturally. The book has already been written in our minds, now it’s just formalities. Unfortunately the formalities of writing are grave and treacherous. Writing should come with a warning label; side effects may include headache, nausea, self-loathing, and unemployment.
Fear is my most common roadblock; fear of failure, fear of change, fear of exposure, fear of being a waste of time. Often when I sit down to write I am paralyzed by the thought of my mother-in-law or second grade teacher reading a sentence such as “My sexual awakening started when…” It’s all I can think about. I have no plans to begin a sentence that way, but what if I do? What if it accidentally slips onto the page and it’s there for all to see: MY SEXUAL AWAKENING. Horrific.
So then I must be careful, very careful, and all of a sudden I cannot write anything for it might turn into something that resembles a sexual awakening and that would be very, very embarrassing. Anne Lamont wrote a book about writing, you might have read it. She says, “Write as if your parents are dead.” I repeat this to myself as much as I can, trying to ignore away the fact that part of the purpose of writing is to be read. Instead I try to focus on copying down the constant narration in my brain without too much self-editing or pause for panic.
I suppose writing is like any other art form, it takes discipline and it takes courage. I just hope I can muster up enough of both this month to get enough words on the page worth sharing.
Outline an entire non-fiction piece
Nail down a solid beginning
Write well into the middle
Read every day
Write every day
I hate writing
Writing is hard
My grammar is rusty
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