Last week I explored the issue of maintaining balance in one’s life, pondering how anyone could possibly maintain multiple blogs while doing justice to their remaining responsibilities. I planned to continue my exploration of that topic after spending the week paying conscious attention to the number of hours I spent reading other people’s blogs and maintaining my own.
Unexpectedly, however, life intervened and my attention turned, of necessity, to other matters. So it was not possible for me to perform the planned self-examination. Once things get back to normal, though, I plan to revisit the questions I posed here. I appreciate your insightful comments.
Before leaving for New York City in March, I contemplated purchasing a laptop computer to take with me and decided against it because I wanted to disconnect from the computer for that week and really savor my experiences there. Afterward, I was glad I took that approach.
This past week, however, there were several times when I wished that I had purchased a laptop. A whole day in an emergency room, and more hours in a surgical waiting room or sitting in a hospital room trying to read while a loved one slept were times when a laptop would have come in handy, and allowed me to explore and write about my feelings as events were unfolding.
Forced to postpone writing until after I came home from a couple of long days in the hospital, I found myself in front of my computer screen having a hard time formulating the words. I wrote and rewrote several blog entries that I never published, instead opting to delete them and give it yet another try. I was exhausted, but unable to sleep because of the adrenaline still surging through me. As a result, I experienced some of the worst writer’s frustration ever.
But I found an excellent interview in the current issue of Writer’s Digest with one of my favorite authors, Anna Quindlen. I was inspired by the practical advice she offers other writers:
It all comes down to the Nike slogan. Just do it. So many people tell me, well, I’m thinking of writing a book. Does anyone say I’m thinking of performing surgery, or I’m thinking of designing a building? Writing seems to be the only profession people imagine you can do by thinking about doing it. No. Put your butt in a chair and write. And never mind feeling blocked. Everyone feels blocked all the time. Madeline L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) once said, “Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.”
Deceptively simplistic? Perhaps.
But it worked for me. After reading her words, I toggled back to the window with a blank dialogue box where I had just deleted yet another attempt to write something that made even a modicum of sense. I was determined to, as she suggested, “just do it.”
Unlike Ms. Quindlen’s, my efforts won’t win any Pulitzer Prizes, but I completed and posted a couple of entries by simply keeping my butt in the chair and writing, persevering until I had a product that I could live with.
Feeling uninspired? Tired? Drained? But have a deadline you must meet? Give Ms. Quindlen’s recipe for success a try: Put your butt in the chair and “just do it.” See if you find inspiration while writing, rather than before you begin.