Today, I got mixed up on carpooling details and missed my weekly critique group meeting. I walked all the way downtown to make the car pool ( a couple of miles), so once down there, I couldn’t see the sense in leaving without having done some writing.
The fact is, I was headed off to critique again without having written much new since we’d last met.
I’m still here, writing, and I wrote two new pages on a short story that I’m as of now quite proud of. And it occurs to me in this moment one of the things that keeps me from writing every day: the baggage I bring to the page. The barrage of insults I hurl at myself every time I sit down to write. There is no denying the fact that those insults gain strength the less often I persist in sitting down to put word on the page.
I’m reminded now of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and her advice to write all the shit that is keeping you from writing down, put it in a jar, and set it aside while you write. Whether you use an actual jar or not, I see right now just how necessary this advice is, just how pervasive the self sabotage that keeps us from writing at all can be.
This shit takes practice. One has to do it every day if one wants to be any good at it.