Last January, my local SCBWI chapter held a discussion on writing goals for the new year. At the time I had been processing a quote from Brenda Ueland as well as a recent email exchange with my critique partner, Valerie Geary, and was inspired to declare 2015 the year I learn to Write Smart and Not Scared.
Regular readers around here will know I’ve blogged about Smart and Not Scared writing throughout 2015. I’m still learning what this sort of writing looks like in my own life and will continue to do so in the year to come. Here’s a recap of the blog posts I’ve run and the topics I’ve covered. I hope you might click through to read them and join me in learning what it means to approach creativity in this way.
- I want to be aware of the work beneath the work
- I want to be proactive instead of reactive
- I want my work, even when it’s hard, to bring about joy and satisfaction
- I will not be afraid of anxious vanity
- I will learn to mentally thumb my nose at the jeerers, critics, and doubters
- Discomfort will always be part of my process
- My deepest satisfaction comes from the work itself
- “No” is often a gift
- Choosing a challenge is ultimately satisfying
- Breaks feed my creativity
One way I’m choosing to free up the overwhelming creating-something-from-nothing phase is to do a little mental word play. Much like I trick myself into steady work by focusing on the story’s present moment (rather than reminding myself I’m writing a whole darn book), I’m going to claim two words from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic:
I’m not going to write right now. I’m going to make. I’m going to create.
I find it interesting that Allende has only recently learned to “go easily with confidence” when it comes to her writing. “If I sit long enough, it will happen,” she says. She’s twenty-one novels in, but only recently has she realized she has a skill. Now she knows “If given enough time, I can write almost anything.”