A Room Of Your Own: Don’t Hesitate

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” (The Writing Life, Annie Dillard)

Hesitation wants to stall my writing. She spends her time mulling over and over again. She thinks it matters where one begins or ends. I know her well. She pressed me to the wall at middle school dances. She conjures excuses for me and I take them like an alcoholic takes to drink.

In elementary school, I preferred to blend in. I hated situations where all the attention turned to me and avoided them as best I could. I learned to ask others questions and to defer.

Step up to the line our P.E. teacher said, stop watch in hand. One at a time. i went to the back of the line and when my turn came, by will I had induced an asthma attack that cleared me from having to perform.

“Jennifer, will you walk Liz to the office,” said pudgy Mr. E.

Hesitation has plagued me all my life, but with practice and experience I  am learning to keep her in her place.

Want to know my most recent trick?

In The Faith Of A Writer , Joyce Carol Oates tell the story of a writer who writes always in a rush. He puts his coat on and goes out on errands, then comes back to write. When the urgency worked up by his errand running wears off, he goes out again, then comes back to write some more without taking off his coat.

My trick is a lot like this.

When I return home after a run, I sit down immediately to write. No shower. No tidying up the house. No talking. Only write and write to a specific goal. It works! The momentum of the run breaks through the hesitation that so often slows or even prevents the flow of words to the page.

Must be a body-mind thing. 😉


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