Making Space and Making Excuses

Friday, 1 November 2013

There's a reason that it's a cliche that writing is simple, but not easy.  It is simple.  You sit yourself down in your chair in front of a terrifyingly blank screen and sweat some Hemingway blood out your eyeballs, and you write stuff, and that's that.

It really is simple in a way;  it's just not easy.  That's why there are so many people walking around who believe they have a book in them but they don't get nothin' writ.  They're waiting for the right time.  But the right time doesn't come.

The last uni class I did on-campus was a creative non-fiction essay-writing class where we were set 20 minutes to write something.  There was a very general prompt of some sort - I can't remember what it was now.  And of course I sat there in a mass panic for about 10 seconds thinking that I would never be able to come up with something, until I had an idea.  And of course it seemed like a shitty idea, not even worth exploring.  (In comparison to the ideas that seem totally amazing, and they're falling off the spoon as you jump out of bed or the shower and run to type them down and by the time you do, they've totally drizzled into the floor and you're just left with a mental spoon.  If you knew beforehand that this idea would be like one of those, you would have just stayed in bed and licked the spoon for your own enjoyment and been done with it.)

I'm worried that leaving Facebook isn't going to create the space that I need to do creative stuff.  I'm worried that it's not going to take that - it's going to take quitting the internet for hours and hours, plus going entirely through menopause, and stopping being depressed and anxious, and stopping feeling excessively paranoid so that I spend mass energy worrying that my friends hate me.  I'm worried that it's going to take my entire life and one day I will be 92 and I won't have any space left because I won't have any time left.

But that worry is really awfully foundless, and I know that it is so.  It is a worry that on my bad days I give in to, and on my good days when I have some sort of a purchase on perspective it is easy to smile at it as evidence of being Scaredy Scarederson and to sit down and write anyway.  

The bit from the writing prompt that I ended up writing in class that day became a My Word column that I sold to The Big Issue a few months later.  And really,  I feel like I've got a million of those ideas inside of me.  So quitting Facebook and trying to do other things to make space is a really good thing to do.  But in the end, it really is just making the time.  Not making up excuses that I can't do it because I'm too paranoid at the moment, or whatever the current almost-mental-illness is in vogue in my head (I must say, the paranoia has been in vogue for some time and I'm really rather tired of it.  Get here, menopause, and get here quick).

We really do make excuses sometimes, don't we.  (Some of us more than others.  A post talking about the struggles I have with getting myself writing and staying writing and doing other creative things is a replica.  There's probably about 50 others on this blog saying pretty much the same thing :) 

Really, it doesn't seem important so much that we're ready to do something creative, just that we need to make space and we need to make time, even if we don't feel like we can do it at all.  We can do more than we think we can.  That blank screen or canvas or page is always going to hold an element of terror.  That will never leave, like an actor's performance anxiety - and neither should it.  But neither should it stop you from getting there in the first place. 

Glowing Stationary by Ablipintime

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