“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” – Steven Wright
I wanted to start this week’s post off with an inspirational quotation about writing, but then I found Steven Wright’s.
I work with writers on a daily basis, and with each day that passes, they continue to astound me with their talent. Filling a blank white page (save for a page number and maybe a header) with words that come alive for the reader can be nothing short of daunting.
Last week, for the first time, I submitted a piece of my own writing to an editor – the tables have turned! Writing with the intent of being edited gave me a whole new perspective on the craft. For me, it meant giving up control, which is terrifying but also necessary and exciting. How can we ever gain new skills or see new possibilities if we refuse to let others help us? If we let our pride and egos get in the way?
Creativity does not surrender to our need for control. Let’s say you’ve got all your page numbers filled in and now you’re staring at the screen. Hours pass. You force out words and then delete them. Force out words and delete them. Finally, exasperated, you throw your hands into the air and decide that checking out what’s in the fridge, or cleaning the house, or watching TV – anything that’s not writing – is a better idea. Game over.
Instead, walk away for a few minutes and then come back. Or allow yourself to just put words down on paper for an uninterrupted time frame, regardless of whether they’re “good” or not. You can always come back to it later. Giving up control means accepting that not everything you produce is going to be good – and that’s OK. What’s important is confidence in yourself and your craft.
Own your talent, rock it with confidence, whether it’s writing or something completely different, and then give up control of it. That’s when the magic happens.
Song of the Week: “Control Me” – Plants and Animals (I thought this was an appropriate choice!)