Did someone order a pep talk?

I found more advice, in line with a comment left by Holly Jahangiri on yesterday’s post. This time, artist/writer/musician Summer Pierre serves up motivational, inspirational words of wisdom that pierce me straight through the heart. (Found via Girl at Play.)

Yesterday I sat with a friend who is a gifted writer, but isn’t writing and has been sharing with me for months and months all his PLANS and IDEAS and THOUGHTS about his writing, other people’s writing, and writing in general. I won’t say all the things–the BIG LIFE things–he has gone through in order to save him from his writing. Finally, after spending another lunch listening to his MACHINE OF THOUGHT, I stopped him and said more or less: BUT WHAT ABOUT SITTING DOWN AND ACTUALLY WRITING?

Her friend sounds just like me. Unfortunately.

The truth was I just needed to sit down and DO. What this required was [being] willing to feel like a complete loser, to be boring, to be really BAD…

Doh. I don’t like being bad at things. (Who does?) But I think maybe she’s right, that I’m petrified of being BAD. Especially after reading the impeccable Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. When I finished that book yesterday, I was crying with sadness (and a little bit of anger) at how it had ended, but also, at the fact that it HAD ended. I wanted more of those characters, more of Lahiri’s quiet, masterful writing. I want to be able to create something that GOOD. Was she ever afraid of being bad in the same way that I am?

Ways in which blocks can manifest themselves: I need to do more research, I need more inspiration, a new place to create, more coffee, chocolate, a new place to live, more time, a new job, etc. Well, maybe you do, but when does that end?

Hmm, let me see if I can identify with this one. New job? Check. New chair? Check. New desk? Check. New laptop? Check. Finished novel? Uh…

I believe life is magical, but sometimes the most magical things are the most ordinary and boring like cold, hard, action. I told my friend yesterday that in order to get to the romantic magical part of it again, he needed to be willing to go through the dry, MEANINGLESS parts too. A commitment is not a single moment, it goes on and on and on. It may seem impossible, I know, but this is the toughest kind of love–to show up when it gets hard and say this means enough to me to try and have that be enough.

Alright then. This means enough to me to try. This is the only thing that means enough to me to try, to risk failure, poverty, embarrassment. I am only 23. I have only been at this, really really, for 5 months. I’m at the beginning of a journey, not the end of the line. I will not get discouraged, I will not be afraid, and most importantly, I will NOT be the one to stop myself from succeeding.

A commitment is not a single moment.

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7 Comments

  1. Liz

    Oh yeah. This makes tons of sense. I hate writing bad things too, but I hate ‘drifting’ more. The bad thing about blogging is that these days, it gets in the way of the book I was working on.

    — Liz’s last blog post: December Morning Breakfast, With a Side of Pinecones

  2. Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid, trying to restrain myself from. Blogging over writing. I think there’s room for both, but I’m not good at the balance yet.

  3. The ups and downs are, I’m sure but yet do not know first hand, a part of the process.

    Have you ever entered that 50,000 words in one month thing?

    — phhhst’s last blog post: I Just Want to be a MACHO MAN. Macho, macho man. Come on, put a little wiggle in it before you start reading….

  4. NaNoWriMo… Yes, many years ago (like, in high school) without success. I think I’d do better now — in fact, I sure hope so, because that’s essentially what I’m doing between now and the Amazon deadline!! o_O

  5. Holly Jahangiri

    Fear of failure and fear of success are not mutually exclusive.

    — Holly Jahangiri’s last blog post: There’s Someone for Everyone, if a Butterfly Works Hard Enough

  6. Angie

    I really liked this straightforward post. Well I guess you can’t even be “bad” if you don’t finish, so don’t tell yourself you’re going to fail when you don’t know that you will!

    Love: A commitment is not a single moment.

  7. Holly-
    Mmm, so deep. And so true.

    (Isn’t it funny to think of being afraid of success??)

    Angie-
    Thanks. :) And you’re right, I know.

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