I have been avoiding writing this post all week. (I mean c’mon. It’s 6:45pm on Friday. Procrastinate much?) I’ve been putting it off because it’s scary to step outside your comfort zone, and that’s exactly what this post represents for me.
You see, when I look back at 2017, I have only one goal on which I didn’t make much progress: To do more personal writing. I’ve got big dreams of writing epic novels, revealing memoirs, incisive essays; and in January of last year I declared that’s what I’d spend the next 12 months working on.
And then I didn’t. Oh, to my credit, I attended some writing workshops and completed a couple essays that I may submit for publication. Some days, I even went so far as to sit myself down at my desk, pen and notebook and story prompt in hand, only to produce scraps. Meanderings. Incomplete and run-on sentences. Bupkis.
More often, though, I didn’t even bother with the “sit down at my desk” part. Instead, I went through my business each day feeling guilty for not writing. A situation easily remedied by just doing some freaking writing, but apparently the self-inflicted pain of that guilt was easier than the pain of chaining myself to my chair and squeezing words onto the page like so much dried concrete from a toothpaste tube.
My trouble is that I am an excellent editor. Each sentence that I finish sparkles and glows. Perfection. And each one takes about as long as you’d expect for perfection. An eternity. I dwell on every variable of vocabulary and syntax. I type and delete and type and delete. Ad nauseam. This method is not conducive to churning out cereal box copy, let alone novels and memoirs, and it’s certainly not appropriate for arriving at what the prolific writer-on-writing author Anne Lamott calls the “shitty first draft”.
In 2017, I gave in to my instinct to edit myself into oblivion, and here we are in 2018 with my memoirs and novels and essays still unwritten in my brain. So my resolution—declared here before you all—is to post one personal piece here on the blog per week. It’ll be edited minimally (I’m resisting the urge to proofread this all right now!) and it will be vulnerable simply for the fact that it’s extremely discomfiting for me to hit “publish” on anything that doesn’t meet my impossible standards. It’ll probably also be vulnerable from a content perspective, since I’ve got a lot on my mind these days.
There you have it. I’ve got no pithy wrap-up sentence for you, and Ivan is getting irritated with me because dinner is ready and I’m still working. It is, after all, 7:05pm on a Friday. See you on Monday, friends!