Okay, terrific. I’ve decided to write every damn day in April in an as of yet untitled blogging event promoted and invented solely by myself to basically keep me busy and out of trouble. Well, that’s all peachy, my dear. But there’s one fuck up we have to deal with first: what exactly do you plan to write about for 30 days, mister smarty pants?
Insert cricket sound here.
Oh yeeeaaaah. I should probably come up with stuff to say for the next 25 days, shouldn’t I? In my life as a social media manager and content writer, I’d tell clients in a haughty, know-it-all voice that they need to come up with an editorial calendar. You know, a list of posts they wanted to publish for the next several days. I figured I should do that for myself and set out to create a publishing calendar for the ages, filled with awe-inspiring posts and soon to be viral must-reads. Sadly, all I was able to come up with was some song lyrics and a post I wanna write about how Aaron Spelling shows turned me into a glamour junkie (Don’t worry. It’s coming.) So my rock solid advice turned out to sort of suck when applied to myself. But then it hit me: why not talk about writing and more specifically how to make something, regardless if you’re inspired or not?
Insert lightening bolt sound here.
First off, I think the idea of one thing or one person inspiring our writing is insane to me. Like talk about a lot of pressure on that artist. Being the good addict that I am, my motto for inspiration is “more is more.” I gleefully admit to being a hoarder of inspiration. The more art I look at, the more music I listen to, the more television I binge, the more I read, the better. The flow needs to be constant. For example, I am currently bingeing Twin Peaks, Veep and The Wire. All shows I have never seen(I know, I know, I know) and all different levels of storytelling. I had to temporarily walk away from my Twin Peaks fest last night after a dream sequence made me feel like I relapsed on hallucinogens.
I chose to read instead. Currently, I’m cramming down as many essay collections I can get my hands on. The first? So Sad Today by Melissa Broder. It’s freaking beautiful, hilarious and as promised in the title, heartbreakingly sad. It’s blowing my mind open which is kind of the job of all good inspirations and is actually informing how I’ll put together my own essay collection. I have found the more channels I have open, the more new stuff will flow through. Here’s a few things currently inspiring me:
True, it’s not foolproof. Like this morning when I first woke up and thought to myself, “For once in my life, I have nothing to say.” Yet it eventually comes.
When I am finally filled with this mystical juju called inspiration, the next thing I need to do is sit down and do the whole writing part. This is the unglamorous part for me. This is the slog. I’d rather have beautiful, witty ideas flow out of my brain which would then manifest themselves into existence, if we’re being honest here. Taking the time and doing the physical act of writing is the part I’m less thrilled about. Sure, I always feel better when I do it but the simple thought of doing it can stop me cold in my tracks. If just plop down in front of the laptop and not think too much about it, it’ll flow right out. But if I’m kicking, screaming and dragging my feet, it’ll be miserable. Also? I’ve found the just sit down and go approach works when I’m not 100% inspired either. That’s actually an exciting way to write. Feels more organic like you don’t know what the hell will wind up on the screen. Obviously much of this site is composed that way, for better or for worse. Inspired or not, for me nothing comes if I don’t give myself a break.
Which leads me to my last point: as long as I make something, it’s a success. I need to write something, create anything, just get it down, regardless of how shitty it may or may not be. I can’t go there with how many views I’ll get, how many comments will be left or if I’m just writing something, only to have thrown it down the deep, dark internet void never to be heard from again. Sounds hard which it is. But I think, like most good things in my life, I learned it in recovery. This idea of just not drinking or using drugs and just showing up for myself was enough for a very long time. In fact, some days it’s still enough and quiet frankly a tall muthafucking order. What was happening when I did this though was I was teaching myself to stay out of the results and do what was in front of me. Turns out this way of living is applicable for everything from emptying the cat box to paying bills and to writing. Over time and on projects as varied as 2 act plays about Craigslist to press release for small businesses, the task of getting writing done gets done when I just do what’s in front of me.
The best thing about breathing and giving myself a break when I’m writing is I realize that what I have to bring to the table as a writer is enough. That my talent is enough. That my experiences are enough. That flawed, procrastinating, occasionally bitchy, old me is enough. And I hope you know that about you, too.
Insert wild applause noise here.