Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just Get It Done

Coming out of a creativity dry spell takes courage and tenacity. I've been facing a massive one myself. Hours of writing that feel pointless and unusable. Not to mention hours of beating myself up for getting caught in a dry spell. Writers love a vicious cycle.

My breakthrough came the other night at the Writers Junction. My inner critic was raging so loudly that I actually started pacing the halls like an exhausted mother soothing a crying baby.

I ended up wandering into their library - a small strip of a room packed to the gills with books and scripts, including a shelf exclusively reserved for books published by members.

I sat down with my tea and took a deep breath, soaking in the literary milieu, attempting to calm the hell down. I pulled random books off the shelves and read the first page of each, hoping someone else's creative genius might inspire mine to re-emerge.

Some openings were stunningly captivating. Others felt flat and forced. I leafed through a copy of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweilerand was reminded why it was one of my favorite books as a child.

And after just 15 minutes of book-surfing, I had an epiphany - regardless of the content or quality of the writing in all of those books, they all shared one vitally important characteristic --

They were finished.

Good or bad, their authors got to The End and moved on to the next step, which led to the next, and the next, until finally reaching publication, distribution, and a trip to libraries like the one in which I was sitting. So many steps to get from writing the first page to that room.

And I'm getting stuck on step one?!

Call it a reality check to end all reality checks. I can't worry about making my writing better until I get it down on the page. I thought about my writer friend Issac Ho's blog post "My Something Beats Your Nothing." It's true - my own something is better than my nothing.

I was also reminded of this great quote from Kami Garcia, co-author of the Beautiful Creaturesseries of books --

Stuck time was over. I got up, shook off the self-judgment, and did a smidgen of solid writing before heading home with the confidence that the next day would be far less painful. And it was. Thanks, books.

Just write - you can worry about editing, revising, and judging later. Just get it done!

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