Get in the Driver’s Seat. Bring a Buddy.
Sometimes writing's hard. This week felt less like E.L. Doctorow's description of driving at night in the fog and more like a low-budget strip mining operation. While bulldozing my brain for ideas, some imaginary environmentalists and my Inner Critic chained themselves to the machinery in protest. A barefoot Julia Butterfly Hill was camped in the branches of my dendrites with Woody Harrelson and a bowl of raw muesli. They were all begging me to stop.
A quick trip to the fridge and a little internet TV did nothing to remedy the situation so I tried out Eric Maisel's advice from his book Deep Writing. I needed to Hush My Mind, Hold the Intention, and Write. First I wrote about why I couldn't write and why I should quit. I wrote about how I will never finish this book or even today's staggering eighteen page minimum. Then something amazing happened.
Writing about why I hated writing cheered me up! Complaining gave me a second wind and that same endorphin rush that got me into writing in the first place. Then I thought of Amy Poehler's inspiring words: "I have told people that writing . . . has been like brushing dirt away from a fossil. What a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver."
I remembered that maybe it was ok that writing feels both like a light guiding the way and like I'm knifing a Maytag. I wrote for a while thinking of my pals—Amy, Woody, Julia—and I felt less alone. Even if I can only see the road right in front of me, I can make the whole trip that way.
If you want to join me on the drive, why not check out a class? We may have to drive with our brights on or slow down through some curves at times, but we never have to drive alone.