“Write without fear. Edit without mercy.” —Unknown?
Hi, I’m Cathy, I’m a perfectionist. I might be a control freak. But I’m in recovery.
Other writers help. I’ve written before about The Art of Possibility. Phrases like, “How fascinating!” when I make a mistake make room for self-compassion and -forgiveness. This attitude of good humor keeps me from wallowing in self-flagellation. Because I am also accountable, I can learn and make amends more swiftly and earnestly. The Zanders’ Rule #6: Don’t Take Yourself So Damn Seriously, is such an easy catch phrase to remember, and takes practice to live in real time. I’m getting there!
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, full of vivid, joyful, and wondrous stories of human creativity, encourages me to take risks. Make pretty things, she writes. Don’t do it for us, don’t do it to help anyone. Do it because you want to. Your unique expression has a value all its own, so put it into the world. Period.
Ozan says, “Do the verb”:
In many cases, we want to be the noun (a songwriter) without doing the verb (writing songs). We tell ourselves we’re going to be an entrepreneur, but we don’t build a product or service. We tell ourselves we’re going to be a novelist, but we don’t write a novel (instead, we tweet about writing a novel).
The key is to forget the noun and do the verb instead.
If you want to be a blogger, start blogging every week.
If you want to be a stand-up comedian, start doing stand-up comedy at open mike nights.
If you want to host a podcast, start podcasting.
…Doing the verb reorients you away from the outcome and toward the process. And if you plan to be a professional at anything, the process–the verb–is all that matters.
With these inspiring innovators’ help, I skip freely along on the path of writing, light on my feet. When I trip on a rock and face plant next to some wildflowers and an earthworm, I can take off my glasses and stare a little longer from this new perspective. I’ll likely find something to write about from it. Sweet!
Even when I think an idea is fully formed, the act of writing expands it. This week I have discovered deeper meaning in my stories, just by way of typing them. More material to chew and spew, yay!
This is not brain surgery, writing a blog. I’m not saving lives here! But it is a challenge, a commitment, and sometimes a labor. I hear my own voice consistently throughout almost 5 years of posts, and while my style is still consistent, I also see an evolution in the writing. I’m gratified to continue the discipline, and taking it ever lightly definitely makes me better.