“As every author — and every reader — knows, writing well is the best trip of all.”
“Don’t even worry about writing ‘well’ ; just writing is heaven.”
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
When we sit down to write, more often than not, we bring a lot of baggage with us. Here’s some of the stuff we all carry:
We bring our sense of striving, of wanting to accomplish something we feel is worthy of us.
We bring the knowledge of what other people have written and our desire for our work to measure up to or surpass theirs.
We bring the expectations of other people who may judge our work — for better or worse.
We bring the fear of failure — worry about getting where we believe we need to go, someplace we’re supposed to arrive at, through our work.
We bring the fear of success — worry about what we’ll do if we actually manage to hit some bar we’ve set for ourselves.
Wow! Let’s all lighten up! We’ve packed a lot of stuff we don’t really need for what should be a short trip to heaven. Think about it for a moment. Every time we sit down to write, every time we face a blank page, the world is new again. The word is new again. Anything can happen — and often does.
We can sit there and write something wonderful. Or something that’s not so wonderful — something that needs a little tinkering, a little TLC, a little stardust. So be it. That’s the way the world works. The sun comes up and goes down. The sea ebbs and flows. Sometimes the wheel of fortune swings our way and our muse comes calling — sometimes she’s on vacation. Sometimes our best writing comes on our worst days. Sometimes our not-so-best writing shows up when we’re feeling great.
But whatever happens, we’re writing — and that in itself, is a blessing. So let’s take a tip from our gentle writing coach Natalie — let’s not get all angsty and worry about writing well. Let’s remember that “just writing is heaven.” And then, let’s all write on!