[The title: Margaret Atwood said that. :) ]
Do you ever get in the mood to write and then find yourself thinking about and discussing the act of writing more than actually writing? I bounce around and hype myself up, read wise words from other writers, and pin to my writing board on Pinterest for inspiration. All the while I’m doing the one thing that all writers seem to have mastered: avoidance. Sometimes I think part of calling yourself a writer is the active non-writing we tend to do. When I get a really good idea (by really good, I mean it excites and intrigues me) I will fast-write it out and look upon the five or ten pages of ecstatic notes and scribbles with pride. I can’t wait to plot this out some more, I tell myself. Then I put it away in my trusty writing folder, where it will be safe.
Wow, this is a great idea! Why haven’t I touched it in two years? Good thing it’s always in the same place so I can come back to it later. This writing folder is awesome.
Oh my, I forgot about this story idea entirely. I wonder why I never followed through with it? I’ll put it here in the front of the folder so that I can work on it soon.
This character is so fantastic. I know that I won’t waste these four pages (front and back!) of character-building. I wouldn’t want to have several pages of raw character material and no story to place them in. That would be silly! Right?!
Do you see a pattern here? I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not trust myself to finish tasks in my writing. I’m afraid to muck up the whole thing. This, of course, is absurd. What writer doesn’t completely obliterate an idea from time to time? Well, that’s simple: the kind of writer that does not write. The answer to that kind of blew my mind. It is still kind of blowing my mind. My mind is akin to a windswept beach where all the trees lean inland due to the constant berating of the wind coming off the water. Where swirls of little sandy tornadoes that only hold the tiny grains for brief moments of glory, constantly come to life and die upon the shore. This is what I imagine when someone utters the phrase ‘mind blown’, maybe I take metaphors too far.
The solution to this issue is so simple but requires commitment. If I want to to write…I should just write! I should make time. I say it so often it’s almost a reflex when someone asks if I’m working on anything. “Oh you know, when I have the time.” Guess what? I have the time. I do not utilize this time sufficiently. At all. Time. Oh, glorious time. We have it, it has us, until all of the sudden we are no more. Time will continue but we are only here for a brief breath. We all want to do things with that breath. I want to write about it.