8.14.2012

freedom

First day in a lot lot lot of days that writing has felt appealing and not like pulling teeth.  First day I've gotten to the end of a chapter and wanted to keep going.

I said to myself last night, "Alright lady.  I'm letting you off the hook.  If you don't want to write anymore, you don't have to."  It was a bit of a turning point, in part because I never thought I'd say those words to myself.  In my moving and unpacking and corralling painters and electricians and roofers and exterminators and anyone else who wanted to wander into my house in the last few months, writing became just another thing on my to do list.  And let me tell you, there is very little happiness on a to do list.  They are, by nature, chores.

Writing didn't always feel like a chore.  But for a while, for me, it's been heading in that direction.  Long before the move, to be honest.  Something about the combination of my relentless perfectionism and the pressure brought to bear by reading too many blogs about writing/publishing and just feeling generally dissatisfied with my own lack of progress - I was hammering away at something large and impenetrable.  And when my hammer broke I started using my hands, and when my hands were useless I just started banging my head against it.  And after a while writing just meant twisted guts and heavy lifting and the pounding of a very bruised brain.

Until last night, when I finally let myself stop.  No more pressure.  No more self-imposed deadlines or mandatory word counts.  No more berating myself for not drafting faster or better.  There is no one way I am supposed to be doing this thing.  There's no "supposed to" at all.  No one is making me do this except me, and I write - allegedly - because I want to.

I'm trying to learn again how to want to.

I'm cutting way back on the blogs I read.  A lot of the bigger writing- and publishing-oriented blogs were so, so helpful when I was starting out, but I feel like I have the lay of the land now, and those constant reminders - commerce, commerce, commerce - just feel a little like drinking poison.  (Note: I will, of course, continue to read and love and snuggle up with the blogs of my writerly buds.  In other words, if you're reading this - YOURS IS NOT THE BLOG I AM NOT READING.  Heh.)

I'm sitting out on my sunporch right now, surrounded by trees and listening to crickets, and the truth is at some point, this is just it.  Me, and the quiet, and my story.  Things got complicated for a while, but there's not a whole lot more than this.

No more poison.  No more self-sabotage.  I write toward joy, or I don't write at all.