There’s a magnet on my refrigerator that I purchased when I visited the American Writer’s Museum. It says: “write drunk EDIT SOBER.” It’s a poignant message and one that I need to hear on a consistent basis. Like many many many writers, I tend to allow my anxiety to question every step of my writing process. I need to overcome that.
Easier written than executed. For periods of time, I was able to let go of the idea of making sure that every sentence I wrote was perfect. Perfect is an impossible feat to start with. Chasing it is a fool’s errand as the idea of perfection is such a subjective one. What one thinks as perfect is another’s garbage… you know, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Same thing. The problem with art and writing, is that it is so deeply personal. Even when writing a vapid piece, it is a reflection upon the artist, even if that reflection is through a scuffed, dirty mirror. Ultimately, no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I commit to not letting it through, it blasts through the door like a SWAT team looking for their perp.
And I hate writing about this so much. As I look to come up with ideas for how to talk about writing in a meaningful way, I clam up. Even after nearly 30 years of trying, I feel like a novice. Now granted, I do not presume that I will ever be good enough to be a NYT Bestseller; I do believe that I am good enough to make a living off this… if I could only get the hell out of my own way.
In many ways, this is why I can empathise with writers who become alcoholics or drug addicts. I can relate in that desire. When drunk or high, I often can move beyond my anxiety. Funny enough, what I create often is pretty good. It might need work, but it is good. The question is, how the hell do I ignore my anxiety? How do I not think about the crap that is going through my head and simply let the process of this craft move forward?
I am not sure if I will ever get a real answer about it. For certain, expect me to write a bit more bluntly on here as I explore it. It’s never going to be truly gone, but maybe writing is the key.