04 December 2010

December 2 - Writing

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Advent calendar says...star.

Stars, stars, stars. Hartley often sings 'digger digger digger dig' to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle. As the prisoner of a toddler, I am allowed two bathroom breaks, as long as they don't exceed three minutes, and the occasional foray into the kitchen for sustenance, provided young sir is allowed to accompany me and dictate what I prepare for us. Otherwise, I am chauffeuring him around the city and trying to come up with inventive ways of avoiding that part of the main street where the soft play area lives. Unless I'm prepared to spend all afternoon chasing him around that hothouse of recreational plastic and Other People's Children, it's best to walk everywhere but straight past it. Including dinner, bath, dishes, bedtime routine, tidy up and unwind, I'd say that basically everything I do each day does not much contribute to a productive atmosphere for writing. Can I eliminate life? Technically, yes. But that won't solve my problem.

Even one day in the future, when the ghost limb of our conjoined umbilical cord has been completely severed from memory and we are wearing aluminium space suits, I would still have my daily fear of failure to combat. I wouldn't say that fear of failure is something I 'do' in my day, but it certainly prevents me from doing the things that mean the most. If my writing were actually out in the world, being there in front of many, many eyes, and those eyes narrowed and hid themselves beneath the furrowed brows of their readers, I would crumple into a little pile of sad and disappear into the floor forever. So I do everything I can to stay under the radar (it's surprisingly easy) and write no more than a page of nonsense at a time, just to relieve a bit of the pressure that tends to build from not writing.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but this year I've decided to stop worrying about it. There are plenty of really good writers out there, and I am happy to count myself among one of their most avid, accomplished readers.

Written in participation with #Reverb10

Read my entry for December 1st here.

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