Saturday, June 24, 2017

Today's sentences aren't so tasty -- but I will keep typing

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, we will move into the portion of our Saturday program where we set aside Bailey's unfinished blog post, unfinished poem #1, unfinished poem #2, and un-begun prayers for tomorrow's worship service to start a whole other writing project:


This is not only an illustration in Attention Deficit Disorder, but also to discuss an age-old concept of writing that I've learned from listening to several writers I admire, including one I love the most, and her name is Anne.

Anne Lamott, in her famous, wonderful book about writing, Bird by Bird (tip: if you have trouble finding it at the bookstore, check the reference section), offers two overarching tips: give yourself small assignments, and allow yourself to write sh***y first drafts.

Today I'm doing a lot of the latter.

I've been typing for about two hours now.

I've also been sighing for about two hours.

I'll type.

I'll reread what I just wrote.

I'll sigh.

No good, I'll think.

It's not fun to feel this way. It's way more fun to be in the, "Wheeeee! Aren't these sentences tasty?!" phase.

But sometimes days are like this.

On Tuesday of this week, I hammered out 1,200 words of a blog post. I didn't finish it, but I wrote the bulk of it.

On another day this week, I started a poem.

Today, I continued on that poem, and started another.

That's a lot of work for one week, and to write poetry on a Saturday morning when I'm not getting paid for it is saying something. Especially because I don't consider myself a trained poet so I kind of feel ridiculous even trying out this genre of art. But I went to an open mic recently and was well received and it felt so good to be in community and to have my voice literally heard and I think I need that now. Not for the fame or even the praise, necessarily, but so that I don't feel like my words are just hitting a wall. Writing aside, I need community now. And if that can be with word-lovers, then, well, YES.

As I was sitting here sighing, I remembered a post I wrote a few years ago, after a conversation with my bestie Michelle.

I had told Shelly that I didn't feel like I was writing enough, etc., and we talked about progress that doesn't feel like progress.

Remembering that conversation, and Anne's words, are helpful today. I put words on a page today. I put sighs in the air today. It's all part of the process. My 1,200 words from Tuesday may not ever be published. My poems may not be "good enough" for a public reading at tomorrow's open mic.

But I'm doing it. I'm writing.

And I mean it, if there's one thing I've heard across the board from writers who have made it, it's this one piece of advice: Just. Write!

Don't wait until you feel inspired. Don't write only if what's coming out of your fingertips is good. You have to just keep doing it. Olympic sprinters have to run even on days that they're slow. Pastors have to preach on Sundays when they're not real happy with God. Parents have to diaper their kids when they don't feel like changing a diaper...which I'm pretty sure is every time.

I mean, obviously I don't view this writing thing to be akin to diapering, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it on a Saturday morning for no pay.

But it's not always fun. It's annoying when I set aside the time, and I want that "Mighty Ducks Feeling" as my brother says to come over me while I'm typing, and it doesn't happen. It's frustrating to have hundreds of Word documents just sitting there.

But it's important I don't view them as waste, even if they never see the public eye.

This is key.

Those kids may never remember the diapers, but boy are they better human beings for having parents who tended to their daily needs.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to get back to my sighing.


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