12.20.2010

ten minutes to writing

photo credit

"Finally, one just has to shut up, sit down, and write." I did just that.
I am reading "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg. It is not the first time I've read a book on writing, but it is the first time I've taken the exercises seriously. I am reading this book as if it were my class, and I am doing the homework. Natalie talks about the discipline of writing, and how it feels like a battle. She says you can just give ten minutes to writing, but you have to do it fully. You sit down with pen and paper, you set the timer for ten minutes, and you go. You write. This is the scary part. You just write, that's it. That is so frightening! I am scaring myself silly writing those words. Why is it so hard to write? I must be scared of something else, because writing isn't scary, is it? It is. I have things inside me that are ugly. They are not politically correct, they are not kind, and they are not quiet. They are impolite, they have terrible table manners, and they hate your outfit. These are the things I am afraid of, because they are unpredictable. They might barge out with all their rudeness and off-putting looks, and they might be seen. You might see them and not like me. Heck, I might see them and not like me.
Well, I read her words on writing and I got real scared. Then I sat down and wrote. And bad things didn't come out! That doesn't mean they aren't in there, because I can assure you that they are in there, but at least today they are behaving and letting out things that are a little nicer. I won't share what I wrote here, because it's not good and I'm just doing it for me, but I will share with you that I was frightened. But I did it. And that feels like a major accomplishment.

9 comments:

SherilinR said...

it's okay to be scared about writing. i realized this week that when i'm suffering, i write outrageous crap. like the story about pooping my pants at walmart. and that wasn't hard to write at all, but the next post i wrote, confessing to being really ridiculously sad about canceled christmas plans, left me feeling all exposed & nervous. makes no sense.

jessie said...

wow.. man, that makes me scared, too. and kind of wanting to dare myself to write for ten minutes.

and i know it's not part of the ten minutes of writing but i really like "...and they hate your outfit." i just like it.

Jess said...

Sherilin- it's like you write out all the embarrassing stuff so that the real stuff doesn't get out. classic bait and switch. ;) it does make sense, I totally understand.

Jessie- that is a book I am sure you would like. you should definitely try 10 minutes. the rules are that you have to keep your hand moving, you can't cross things out, and you just have to write. you can write about anything, and she encourages taking up the whole page, not adhering to margins. it's fun and terrifying.

Jamie Lee said...

I love how you said that your thoughts/words sometimes have "terrible table manners." That's great!!! There's certainly some wit in there too ;)

Lainey Seyler said...

you're very encouraging. i need to sit down and write more, or at least some. i have horrible discipline there.

alltheseblessedthings said...

Yay! All my insides are ugly, and I think that's why I often try NOT to write what really wants to come out. My friend Brandon recently posted a blog called "Write What Scares You" and that made me get all twitchy. I think it's good to do exercises...but I never do. Thanks for the inspiration!! Keep writing!

chefmadness said...

I agree with you that writing is scary. Sometimes I tend to write something without realizing what I've said, without knowing that I already hurt people's feelings. But now I think I've changed. I write not to be controversial. I write because I want to inspire others and I write because it makes me feel better knowing that I can actually say positive things rather than concentrating on negative things. It's good to be optimistic in writing, but being optimistic just works on anything.

natalie said...

i am so happy to hear that you are doing this! please let me know as you continue on your writing journey! :)

Barbara said...

Jess, I used to write a lot when I was younger ( in my early twenties) and then I stopped because I tended to use my journals to vent. I don't write as much in a paper journal anymore, I've been trying, but reading this makes me want to even more!