I’ve been thinking I should blog more this year than I did the one before. First, I want to sum up the key things I think I learned in 2015.
Lesson #1: Tell Fear to Take a Backseat . Resolution #1: Write More
In this lovely NPR/Ted Talk Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the Border Collie in her brain. I had felt similarly about my own brain before and it was sort of exciting to hear I’m not the only one.
If you know anything about dogs, particularly herding/working dogs it is that they need a job. When not given a job and left unattended they will destroy your house. She explains that when she is not using her brain creatively it has an effect on her relationships and mental well-being. Essentially, if you’re brain wants a job and you don’t let it do that job, it’ll take that energy and put it elsewhere.
I hate that I don’t write more. I have all these ideas in my head and they bug me. They keep bugging me because I don’t let them out and I think if I did I would have room for other ideas in my head, or I’d remember where my keys were, or I’d actually be able to turn off my brain at night and sleep without having crazy dreams about celebrities and war zones. I love to multi-task but some ideas are distracting and need to be addressed individually before they’ll go away.
The blog posts I think of and don’t write haunt me when I have a spare moment to think about them. That freaking screenplay I told everyone I would write always comes back to haunt me. People don’t forget when you tell them you’re writing a screenplay and/or let them read drafts. They’ll haunt you too with periodical, “have you finished that yet?”
So I live life in a constant state of distraction, when I could have just written the thing down and moved on.
People say coming up with an idea is the hardest part, but that’s not the case for me. It’s the actual writing that can be hard.
Writing. Is hard. It’s hard. It’s sexy, but it’s hard.
The reason it’s hard is because there is an active force that works against you when you try and create something.
Once again, Elizabeth puts it nicely,
“I think instead what you have to do is recognize that fear and creativity are conjoined twins. And what I see people doing in their lives is they’re so afraid of their fear that they end up trying to kill it. And when they kill it, they also kill their creativity because creativity is going into the uncertain, and the uncertain is always scary. And so what I’ve had to figure out how to do over the years is to create a sort of mental construct in which I make a lot of space to coexist with fear, to just say to it, hey, fear, listen, creativity and I – your conjoined twin sister – are about to go on a road trip. I understand you’ll be joining us (laughter) because you always do, but you don’t get to decide anything about this journey that we’re going on. But you can come. And I know that you’ll be in the backseat in panic but we’re going – mommy’s driving. (Laughter) And we’re going anyway. And you just take it along with you. And that seems to work for me.”
It doesn’t always manifest itself as fear. Often it’s just a block, but it comes from the same source and ain’t nobody got time for that negativity.
With the recent shootings and other turmoil going on in the world I had a moment where I had to think about what I wanted to do with my life. Legitimately. What if I died suddenly? I realized that I didn’t want to die with the stories that were inside of me. I don’t want that unfinished screenplay to haunt me when I’m a ghost myself. If I can leave behind something that makes people laugh or makes them happy in some way I want to do it.
So out-weighing my fear of doing something is the fear of not doing anything. This feeling manifest itself as quiet confidence rather than panic. There is something I can do and I need to just do that thing.
I’m lucky in the sense that I have found something that brings me great joy. Writing a screenplay/blog/whatever makes me feel the same way falling-in-love feels. It’s an cheap, easy, natural high but for whatever reason (see fear above) I ignore this great love of mine when it’s right there begging for attention. I’ve ignored it for too long and it’s destroyed my brain-couch.
I’m excited for this year because I’m giving up everything else temporarily (or maybe permanently) to focus on writing. I’ve seen clearly this year as people have responded positively to things I’ve created and I know I’m not going to be curing cancer anytime soon so I may as well contribute to society in the best way I know how. John and I have some pretty decent ideas queued up.
Oh and if I fail, then at least I know I gave it a good try instead of always having it as a thing on the side.
If you’re resolving to write more this year too, here are some helpful tips.
If you hate writing, find what you do love. That’s also a hard thing to do, but tell fear to take a backseat.