Free Writing Tomorrow!

This writing is my work. I have to remind myself of that. It’s not like a job where you clock in, fulfill some expectations, clock out, and get paid. My writing is for me. It’s my heart work. It’s my art work. It’s my own battle that I’m fighting for myself.

The battle isn’t in the writing, it’s in what happens before I write. It’s the fight against resistance that happens to all creative people. Everything in my world is pushing back against my desire to do my work and I will rationalize anything to make myself believe that I don’t really need to write, I don’t really want to write, at least not right now. Later. Tomorrow.

There’s a little hole in the wall bar down the street from where I live with a sign out front that says “FREE BEER – TOMORROW!”. It’s always tomorrow when the free beer will be available, but the problem is, it is never tomorrow, it is always today.

That’s what I do to myself with my heart work also. I say, copious amounts of writing tomorrow! Because “free beer today” is too costly. And no mistake, sitting down to write costs me something. It costs me the pain of introspection, the reality check of putting words down that may or may not please me later, the frightening prospect of putting truth out there.

But over the long run it still costs me more not to do my work. I forfeit peace, purpose, groundedness, satisfaction, and accomplishment.

A quandary is this: There are things I need to express, work out, and put into words that could veer into the territory of “not my story to tell”. This has been a large part of my difficulty lately. I don’t want to expose someone else’s secrets or violate their privacy. I could write everything in a private journal but for me that doesn’t satisfy the cosmic requirement of putting it out there. Even if no one stumbles onto this blog, I am still putting my words out into the ether to be shared with the universe and that, for me, is part of the process.

So that’s difficult. I do think I am entitled to share my story even when it overlaps with someone else’s. I just have to be careful to tell it from my perspective and not try to state what was going on in someone else’s head and heart because I can’t know that and *that* is definitely not my story to tell.

Do you want a breakthrough in your writing work?

I sure do. I got one this morning. It feels so good to just let the words flow with nothing hindering. What worked for me this time? I think there are a couple of ingredients in this soup.

First, I’ve been working hard on allowing myself to write imperfectly. Normally my inner critic/editor is right there with me, reading as I write, constantly interrupting me with her opinions and directives. This is maddening and makes me give up more than anything else. I’ve been in talks with her to convince her to allow me to just get it all written and then I will hand the project over to her. She doesn’t really want to do all of her editing and criticizing at once. She’s a bit low energy like me and prefers to do it a little bit at a time in real time. But for now she has agreed to step aside. This really helps me to let down my guard and just write.

Second, I’m taking off the masks. I’m not trying to “be good” at what I am doing or make it sound like any certain “good writer” that I’ve read. I am not trying to do it like Jeannette Walls or Ann Lamott or Cheryl Strayed or even Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m going to do it like ME and I don’t care if it doesn’t look the same or look like what a memoir is “supposed” to look like. There’s no law. So I am committing to a.) being myself, right to the bone, and b.) telling the truth, as impoverished as I may think it is. I never made anything up but I did try to make it sound a certain way. Not doing that anymore.

The result? This morning I sat down and poured out 1000 words and could have gone longer but I wanted to get a blog post in before it is time to take coffee to my man. It feels so good. I hope it lasts this time.

What do you do to get the words flowing? Do you ever struggle with your inner critic?

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash

 

When you’re an INFP

When you’re an INFP, you can find tragic beauty in everything. You can cry and laugh at the same time, for the same reason. When you’re an INFP it’s hard to accept things just as they are. They could be so much better. But you don’t have the energy to change them. Unless you’re pissed off and then you can move the world. Until someone looks at you funny and you stop to wonder why. And then you’re paralyzed and you cry and hide. And you play sad music and you cry some more and then you write something beautiful. You put on your black clothes and tie flowers in your hair and color your toenails black with a sharpie. Even though you’re fifty five years old.

When you’re an INFP, your kids know you’re weird but they love you anyway because no other mom could connect with them the way you do. Except when you’re in one of those moods and you hide in your room and pretend you don’t hear it when they knock. But then they text you and you answer instantaneously because you love them, after all. You just can’t bear to have them look at you right now. So you answer all their questions digitally, diligently, and give them advice that you haven’t followed all that well but you know it is the right way to be. And you would follow it if you weren’t so emotionally fragile. You know your kids are much stronger than you.

When you’re an INFP, you love your husband because he’s perfect and because he’s broken, all at the same time. He’s your hero and he irritates the snot out of you but you would give anything for him and do anything for him. You’d give up writing for him – at least your public writing. The journal is never going to be sacrificed for any reason, except if you just don’t feel like it today because the world seems too dark to relate to but that’s when you need it most so you put on some sad music and you let the words and the worlds come tumbling out. Then you take him coffee and massage his temples and read to him and laugh together and it’s a new day.

When you’re an INFP, you keep pushing onward each day, starting over again with all your commitments and promises to yourself and others. Hope drives you to never give up, and when it seems like hope is running out you find a way to find some more because hope is the battery of the engine of your life and you know that without hope you’d have been dead a long time ago and you’re not done living, dammit, so wake up body. Blood cells flow to where they are needed, by your command, and body parts relax when you tell them to. You control the very processes of your existence. You are in your body and you know it intimately and care for it intimately. You are the master of your destiny and the captain of your soul.