Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Looking Back

"We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way. ~John Holt

There are times I believe we're over-educated. Oh, I don't mean we're teaching our kids too much math or history or literature. I'm talking about our writing. I'm wondering if we dilute our passion with too much research, too many how-to books, and too much mentoring/tutoring/life sessions.
I remember when I got pregnant, I ran out and bought every book on pregnancy and raising a baby that I could find. Of course, once I read what childbirth was all about, I realized I should have educated myself before getting pregnant, or just rolled with it, not delved into the intricate details of giving birth. By learning all I could, I pushed myself into that realm of fear that I know so well.
Same thing with my writing. Instead of running toward the finish line with an idea, I tend to pick it to pieces to see if it will work, question what I can add to or take from. I tend to hold back. As a result, many ideas fall short because of doubt. I've noticed that much of my writing is peppered with uncertainty. I see it only after my critique group points it out. I wish I could see it first.
I believe spontaneity is good for writing. It gives the piece energy. One of the best compliments I've ever received was that my writing had energy. The worst compliment I've ever received was, "Out of all of us, I thought you would have made it." A hard fist in the gut, for sure. A statement like that makes one take a close look at the past, the present, and the future.
I used to grab hold of an idea as if my very life depended on it. Get it down, grow it with confidence. That's where I want to be again. That's a good place. That I-can-do-anything-I-set-my-mind-to-place keeps my focus sharp and without a doubt, maximizes my productivity. How does one revisit such a place? By casting off the negatives that destroy motivation and confidence, then sitting down and re-learning.
Write! Do it! Quickly and passionately.
Only then can we layer it with rhythm and tone, and deepen it with wisdom and honesty. And lastly, tweak its heart and soul.

"We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way. ~John Holt

1 comment:

Christa said...

Wow--thanks for this. Now THAT was energy!