Shame(less)

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It smells like bacon in my office. While I’m absolutely not complaining (I love bacon), I am confused about where its coming from.

I’m listening to Pandora and trying to get some work done this afternoon, but its a rough one.I went to bed at 9:30 last night, hoping (in my old man way) that this would mean I got a good nights sleep and would be bright eyed and bushy tailed today. No dice.

Today I’m thinking a lot about writing, and expectations. Meaning, I need to write and make sure my expectations are reasonable when I sit down to do it. You see, like many writers I have this thing about sitting down to the act of writing with unclear or outlandish expectations. Forcing myself into panic mode, because I am expecting to always write something perfect and amazing without any effort. Then, when a bunch of (totally reasonably mediocre) writing comes out, or worse yet, nothing at all, I feel like I’m suddenly in the middle of a big nasty fight with my writing. I want to scream, “I hate you!” at my paper (or computer screen) and cross my arms over my chest like a small insolent child. I have literally done exactly this (shh!) on occasion. When I used to teach writing, I had this whole strategy around how to avoid this pattern of expectation and shame, and now, I’m having trouble a) applying it for myself and b) remembering what those things are at all.

Herein, a list. Which is actually a strategy I frequently use to get the (creative) juices flowing.


What can I (we) do as writers to avoid feeling shamed when we are doing (writing); A list.

+ Set up a time limit for ‘going in there.’ Give myself permission to write for 20 minutes only, 10 minutes only, 5 minutes only. Especially if something I’m thinking about/feeling is heavy.

+ Commit to a schedule. An hour a day in the evening, or whatever.

+ Let myself write something completely stupid and silly and appreciate it because it gets my pen moving. Use it as an introduction into writing headier stuff.

+ Take breaks if I need them.

+ Learn how to treat myself with kid gloves when I’m working around something sensitive.

+ Keep an open dialogue with other writers/friends in my community about shame/writing.

+ Oh yeah, that community thing, where did it go? Get one of those again.

+ Stay in therapy. I feel like everyone (especially artists) should be in (some form of) therapy as much as possible.

Anyone have anything to add? Obviously this is just the beginning of the list. But, I would love to hear from anyone about things that they would add/thoughts on this subject, etc.

(Also, Apparently the bacon smell was my coworker eating a hot pocket. Who knew?)

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