Ok, so writing. Why do I find it so painful? I like expressing my thoughts in words; I have for years. Sitting in front of the computer and putting them down on the page is excruciating, though. If I had to put words to it I would say it is a mixture of fear and insecurity. Well, if you boil insecurity down to its primal nature, that’s also fear. So, I am just afraid to write.
That’s not quite right. I’m afraid to put the words out there. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid that ultimately I have nothing to say that anyone is actually going to give a shit about.
There are always stories going through my head. Stories that I find interesting but that no one else has actually written (that I know of). What if my stories are only interesting to me? Are my stories nothing but derivative shit? Maybe even my life is only of interest to me since I’m the one inside this skull and everyone else is out there going “Meh!”
Still, for over 20 years now, writing is the one thing I keep circling back to like that clichéd fucking moth and the flame. I think I need to give into it, embrace the fear and just fucking do it. It’s apparently not going to go away on it’s own.
I am trying a system that I can see getting annoying really fast if it doesn’t yield results. I have heard it referred to the egg-timer method by Lauren Graham (love you Lorelei) in her book “Talking as Fast as I Can”. She got it from someone else but you can read her book for that reference.
Basically you literally set a timer, egg time not required with an iPhone. Turn off all Internet, TV’s and phones (except the timer I guess). Also turn off any music you can sing along to. Start the timer and just sit in front of your writing platform of choice. You don’t have to write; you just need to sit there for the duration of the timer. If you do write you don’t even need a project – just write anything.
This is how this little piece is coming out; I set the timer for an hour and just started to write stuff. It may be a bit spot-on to write about WHY and HOW I’m doing the writing but it’s day one so “PPHHLLAABBTT!”
I just remembered that this is not the first I’ve heard of the method. I took a creative writing class in College and the text was a paperback by Natalie Goldberg called “Writing Down the Bones”. She has similar suggestions in the book but is more rigorous about actually writing for the period. Her method is you keep writing, regardless of what you say, for the entire time. You can pour out your hatred of your grandparents, cite nursery rhymes and just curse for the entire time. She has a story in the book about a student who did this and just wrote “vagina” (I’m pretty sure it was ‘vagina’) for the entire time period for several classes. He just needed to get rid of the block first.
Here I am trying to remove a block. This rambling is it. It is work; it is progress. There is not need for it to be concise, poignant or even readable (and I pity you who may be reading it) but it needs to happen.
Also, setting hour-long writing blocks is a good way to fill up some time in my day as I deal with being unemployed. I must do something with my days to avoid falling into sadness and moodiness. No one wants that, least of all me. I’ll annoy myself when it happens.
I just cut a segment out of this that was just as long into another file. I went off on a topic that seemed to have it’s own life so I am giving it one. I guess I do have things to say and this is letting them out. So – good on me.
Writing is something I have found therapeutic in the past. I remember in my 20’s when my friend Laura and I used to write together and read each other’s work at certain intervals. I miss those days. We even took another page for “Writing Down the Bones” and went to a diner to write. Say down, talked ordered coffee and breakfast and started writing. We explained to out server what we were doing, that we were going to tip based on time not just food ordered, and that if she needed to table to turn over to let us know and we would leave. Far from being annoyed she was very interested and kept out coffee full. This was FAR from the days of millennials camping in Starbucks for hours at a time so was as novel to her as to us.
I miss those days with Laura and other friends giving me a support network for writing. The further from those days the harder it was to keep up the practice. A few bad relationships didn’t help either.
Now I must start over with being my own support network. I need to find my own reasons and my own motivation for renewing the practice. Tricks as it were to open myself up to it again. I need to tease the love of the act back out of the fear of the result.
Ok – My timer went off. I’m done. It wasn’t that painful and I got a LOT more on paper than expected, especially since I edit as I go. I can get used to this. We’ll see.