Writing > The Idea of Writing

The Idea of Writing

Published: March 29, 2011

When people find out I am a writer many say the same thing, “I’ve got an idea for a story for you.” Or, “You should write about blah, blah, blah”. I tell them that it’s their story and they need to write it, I have enough of my own thank you. The ideas are not the hard part of writing. It’s the sitting, the page, the words that are all wrong, and stories getting lost in translation between the noggin and the hands. I don’t know how many of them wind up in a ditch but a good number do. I chalk it up to the creative process and move on. The idea of writing is attractive, even glamorous but the practice of it can be hell.

The practice of writing, like yoga, kindness and making the perfect martini takes time, energy and sometimes blue cheese stuffed olives. It takes showing up at your designated spot with the intent to do better than you did last time, all the while honoring where you are. It takes messing up, falling down and getting it picture perfect on occasion. It requires action. The word practice lets you know that there is always another day to try again. Our success and failure are neither but merely feedback for the next time we show up to work. We are not as bad or as good as we think we are, and just because we think something, does not make it true.

The idea of most things are prettier, more fun, and easier than the reality. Ideas are seductive, that is their nature and purpose. We use them to pull us along to action or if you are a procrastinator another idea. If you are a procrastinator with ADD it pulls you along to another idea, then a “hey where did I put my phone?” The idea of writing or painting and yes even sex is not what you see in the movies. It often is messier, more frustrating and requires practice to be more fun than you imagined. Practice is where the pay-off is, especially if you approach it in a playful way. Just tweaking our attitude can change the outcome of everything.

By allowing mistakes and mess to be part of the process and not an evaluation of skill, or worth we can take it for what it is: information. Using that information to do better, different or move on is what growth is about. Feedback makes for a self-correcting circuit or loop. This is a good thing in life. Another point to feedback is if you operate in isolation you are apt to go off the deep end and wonder why everything sucks. Having trusted partners in crime as sounding boards in art and life and who provide feedback, gives us other perspectives to achieve more balance, validation or just a laugh. Taking any of this seriously is ridiculous, it’s not like we get out alive. Bringing an idea into practice, being playful with that practice and enjoying wherever you may be on the road with your process are good keys to getting better at anything. Especially those martini’s!


1. T on March 30, 2011

Just what I needed this morning. Thank you!


Any Comments?


» The Backcountry Take on Fear

Truth in Fiction

Published: May 5, 2011

Tools in writing and life.

Sophomore Slump?

Published: March 16, 2011

Choices on writing, love and where we take them.