Welcome to Day 8 of a 31 day challenge to write 500 words or more. For more on that click here: goinswriter.com
I’m not sure what it is about writing but it truly is one of the best therapies I’ve stumbled across. In its best form it is like a toilet plunger for my brain. Metaphorically speaking of course.
Like most people (I suspect) and like most toilets, things in my mind get a bit clogged. Not all at once but there is a gradual and consistent buildup over time. A hairball here. A wad of tissue there. Let’s not chase this metaphor too far but you get the picture. There’s a lot of crap in there.
Writing offers a chance to flush the whole thing out — to break the lines loose and get everything flowing again. It’s like magic when it works right, however, as I stated on DAY 7 and DAY 1 (which was written 860 days before Day 7) I am not consistent in my writing. Consequently the clogs are well formed.
Here are some of the reasons I don’t write:
I prefer toilet surgery
Sick right? But true. I’ve got a butt-load (no pun intended) of ideas clogging my brain and when I sit down to write I feel like I need to produce the final draft, the finished product, the masterpiece, the opus every single time. It feels good when I write a blog post and people read it (side note – my brain just mocked me when I wrote “blog post” . . . “Woot teee dooo — A BLOOOG POST! Look at you, Shakespeare). That’s fair. Everyone likes their work to be appreciated but a big clog for me is writing for the accolade – hoping for something viral. So (like a surgeon) I spend hours stuck in one spot, trying to get it just right, afraid to let my hand slip.
Just plunge the thing man.
I fear criticism
This one just gets weird when you try to stick with the toilet metaphor.
I care too much what people think. I want to have impact but I am paralyzingly fearful of being wrong. My mind goes to dark places and plays out a million, “if I say this, they might say that” scenarios. Criticism proof writing is a pointless endeavor. But I get stuck there — trying to play to a primarily American/fully international/expat/repat/conservative/liberal/mostly white/somewhat interracial/mono-multiculutral/significantly Western Christian/slightly not crowd.
I don’t so much fear the trolls. Trolls are idiots and they generally out themselves as such. I fear people who might have a good point — who might be smarter than me and disagree — who might be more insightful and negate everything I say. The personal impact of a negative comment for me is 500 times greater than a positive one . . . and I love the positive ones.
I am irregular
Now we’re back on the metaphor track.
I’ve never been good at routines. In fact, I take great pride in my ability to go willy nilly — shoot from the hip — think on my feet — make it up as I go. The result is a dramatically unpredictable schedule and a HEAVY dependence on my ability to procrastinate well. I suppose you could just sum that up as a lack of discipline.
The result of that result is that there are always a pressing number of “HAVE TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW” items on my to do list (which isn’t actually a list at all) that take priority. I can always get to those things later but experiencing the true joy of something that is NOT pressing gets squashed by the things that are.
So I only write when I’m avoiding something else.
I feel like we’re just beginning to plunge — but those are my 500 words.