SELF-DISCIPLINE IS NECESSARY,
BUT SO IS PLAYFULNESS, FLEXIBILITY, JOY.
WHEN YOU STOP DEMANDING PERFECTION OF YOURSELF,
YOUR WRITING DESK WILL BECOME A SPACIOUS PLACE.
SLIPPERINESS IS GOOD. SLOPPINESS IS OK.
WITH YOUR OWN UNCERTAINTY AND DOUBT;
A TOLERANCE FOR BAD WRITING;
A WILLINGNESS TO LET A STORY DEVELOP
This quote makes me feel like I now have permission to have fun with my writing again. Don't get me wrong - I always enjoy the process, but I'm better at some parts than others. I respect the gift I was given, and I try to make the most of it. This is why I also take my writing very seriously.
But maybe there's a difference between taking the craft seriously - making the time to practice, defending it against others' disregard, continuing to learn and improve - and sucking the joy out of the story.
I like to be organized. I like files and folders and lists. And while this usually works in most areas of my life, it is not working with this novel. For every neat and orderly list I make, three raggedy scraps of paper appear - one with dialogue snippets, one with potential plot points, one with the phrases "Phil the bus driver," "she had wine with lunch," and "hanging from iron spike" scribbled on it.
It reminds me of when I was helping my niece put on her shoes, and I could not get her feet into the stupid things. I felt like an idiot - much the way I feel when my words don't work. But my niece just looked up at me, calmly, and said, "It's okay. It's tricky."
So, I am going to let my tricky novel run barefoot around my office, throwing scraps of paper in the air like confetti. It will slide and slip and make a mess, and I will practice patience and restrain myself from trying to corral it into a file folder. And eventually, we will both calm down, and then we will play nicely together.
Let's find the fun in our writing, in our work, this week. Let's remember to play and to laugh and to enjoy all the amazing things we can do with words.