Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Untying the Writing Knot

Another part of the "knot" that I keep thinking about is that I don't feel very lucky when it comes to writing. I wouldn't say I have bad luck, just little good luck. The frustrating thing is that there is little that can be done about whether you are a lucky person or not. Some people just seem to be equally talented or even less talented, but they are luckier when it comes to the fruits of their writing. There is something unfair about this.

I think part of being lucky when it comes to writing is to do your due diligence and learn your craft, put in your time at the desk, read poetry, etc. Putting that work in on the front end makes it more likely that you will be lucky on the back end. Still, there are no guarantees.

My wife thinks that attitude helps shape this strange concept called luck. She suggests that if I have a more positive attitude and expect better things of my writing that it is more likely to happen. I will admit that I have at best guarded optimism and at worst pessimism/skepticism when it comes to the fruits of my writing.

Another part of the knot is that I don't feel that I am fully committed to writing. I feel that I don't spend enough time writing and reading. I spend my discretionary time often in other ways such as watching movies, playing video games, reading science fiction, and exercising. It is a constant question to find what is the right balance of writing to other pursuits/relaxation in my life. When I feel that there is little payoff for my writing, I think I am more likely to find the writing time/effort to be absurd, so I find myself tipping the scale more towards other pursuits/relaxation.

Intellectually, I realize that the most healthily place to be is to value writing for the internal benefits it provides. Some days I can remind myself of that and really believe it. Other days I really want that external recognition. By internal benefits from writing, I mean: learning more about myself, learning more about the nature of the unconscious, producing something that is distinctly "me," feeling that pleasure when you are in the zone of writing and the words seem to come from another place, sticking with something even though it is difficult, learning to master something and how mastery of one thing provides lessons and contributes to mastery of other areas in your life, and feeling like a god because with writing you start with nothing but a blank page or a blank screen and create in your image.


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