The Challenge

The challenge in writing daily is that not every day one feels inspired.  I had an English teacher in high school who told me when I failed to turn in an assignment, “You cannot wait to be sitting in the middle of a field of flowers on a beautiful sunny day and be inspired to write.  Writers write every day, in every season, in every mood, whether the muse calls them on not.  Just write SOMETHING!”  Or as Gretchen Rubin’s “Secrets of Adulthood” says so well, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Striving for perfection can become so paralyzing as we approach almost any task, and that in turn becomes procrastination as we further slide away from trying. The push we have to give ourselves is to start the task even if it is not moving along in the direction of our ideal.  Sometimes, just forcing ourselves to keep on a task that is going nowhere is a success in itself.  Not that we don’t want to do our best, but as I used to tell my kids, you cannot do better than your very best, not possible.  So if your very best is somewhat flawed, ta da! proof that you are human. To wake up and say “I will do my very best today” is far different from saying, “today I will be perfect” – good grief, just pull the covers over you head and give up now!

So just for today I will continue to write without a hint of inspiration, getting words on paper (or this friendly little screen of mine), will be an achievement.  I think I will try the automatic writing exercise, where I set a timer and start tying anything that comes in my head and stop when the time is up.  No corrections for spelling or punctuation, simply spilling words on to the page.  Once I drop into the automatic mode, occasionally a gem will fall out; something I can pick up and build from later.  But even without any treasure, writing like that can reopen the channels in the brain where the inspiration lives and the words may come more easily tomorrow.

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