What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta; focusmanifesto.com; @zen_habits; reverb10.com)
I started thinking about this prompt the way I, unfortunately, usually think about my writing: I started beating myself up. I get up late, I commute so far, I don’t write every day. I didn’t win at NaNoWriMo this year, I don’t update my wordpress blog in a regular manner, my first novel is in plotless shambles, etc.
But my commute gives me time for reverie, to imagine what I’d like to write, to try out phrases in my head, and decide if something that occurs to me is something I want to say about the topic. I do write practically every day. I write when I talk to my friends online, which gives me some insight into myself. For example:
Jeffrey: i think it has something to do with the focus being in the right place? it’s not about you, it’s not about buying shit, it’s about the baby, and the anticipation of family
Katherine: Yeah, it’s about being part of a larger context.My womb isn’t the center of the universe, and for all I want to be a baby wearing slightly-crunchy parent, Rocketship isn’t going to be the center of the universe either.
Our marriage isn’t about us, completely, either. I’m not going to be the sole parent, we’re going to try to equally parent, but that’s going to be a lot of hard work and communication.
Sarah: that’s another reason why you work … you’re not all like “hit the road, Tim. You’ve done your part.”
me: Yup. We both have to have identities and goals outside the home, and we both have to be committed to parenting, too. and, furthermore, I’m also committed to everyone finding the lifestyle choices that work for them.
It’s developing ideas like this that is absolutely essential to so much of my writing. Being able to express myself and sort out my complex ideas about self, and identity, and community and how to navigate all the privilege and oppression out there.
I suppose what can be learned from this is that sometimes, telling myself stories about my writing is something I do that doesn’t contribute to my writing. And with some mindfulness and some right-thinking, I can realize that writing is a continuing act, one that doesn’t always require a keyboard or a pen, but one that is a life style, a way of being, a way of seeing and hearing.