Friday, October 10, 2008

Recognise any of these?

From One Continuous Mistake by Gail Sher:

A list of erroneous indicators of failure that often have the devastating effect of inducing a real failure:

• I want to write but I don’t feel driven. I don’t feel ‘no matter what’. Actually some days I do, but other days I feel quite lazy.
• For me, the longing to publish is so old and so deep that I can’t get around it. It’s like a sore. Only one balm will heal it.
• I write every morning but I like it best when I get a ‘buzz’. If I sit there and nothing comes, I get impatient.
• I know I’m a good writer but I haven’t found my ‘form’. Without it I feel I don’t know what I’m doing. Somehow writing doesn’t ‘belong’ to me.
• I definitely have writing skills but I can’t get myself to finish anything.
• I keep being pulled away from my ‘own’ writing by the thought ‘If I could write a screenplay and sell it, then I would have all the time in the world for my own writing.’
• Sometimes I feel I’m just writing the same thing over and over. What’s the point?
• Writing is really hard for me. Getting to the first draft is hard and it’s impossible to imagine my pitiful language ever turning into the fine prose I see in the bookstores.
• I’m thirty-five. (Or forty-five. Fifty-five.) Many famous writers reached their peak in their adolescence or their twenties. Aren’t I too old to just be starting out?
• I can’t seem to get past ‘me’. All my writing is about myself and renditions of my life. Even I’m bored with it.
• I long to write but I’m so afraid of failing (I fail at everything I try) that I can’t bear to begin. I can’t bear to fail at something I want this much.

Gail Sher says:

‘All of the above are focused on what. The antidote: stay with how. If you emphasize the product, you are selling yourself short. Don’t permit your self-esteem to rest on such flimsy bedding. Products have a self-life.
‘But you don’t. Your soul is boundless. When you emphaize the process, your writing roams. The cosmos itself becomes your sitting room, you pen, the moon – around which, like stars, ‘problems’ settle themselves.’


trying to write ... said...

this was really good - thanks! btw (my real reason for writing) its almost November, are we going to play the messages game again? I for one would LOVE to.

jem said...

There are a few familiar ones there, but the one that jumped out was the one about saying the same thing over and over. But then I read encouragemnt in other places, that says your preoccupations are significant. And I see artists I respect going over the same ground time and again, and I think perhaps its all about doing it over and over until you strike to the very heart of truth of what you're trying to say... perhaps.