Friday, February 7, 2014

Permission to Create

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at
I've had a couple of fiction novels knocking around my mind for years now. YEARS. And I wrote some scenes, which I had some sisters and a select few friends read and they gave me really good feedback, encouraging me to continue writing. And I wanted to. I really did. But I got so busy. I started working again (which is now full time) and my kids got older and busier and I let all sorts of reasons and issues get in the way. 

For one thing, I seldom have a quiet house all to myself anymore. Like, almost never. And I work better when it's quiet, or when I can choose the background music and not have the piano pounding, the video games bleeping, the children bickering/chattering and the constant, endlessly repeated stream of "Mom?" queries. It's very difficult to do anything productive at home.

But I'm tired, so I don't really want to pack up my laptop and stuff and slog back across town to the library. 

And did I mention I'm terrified of rejection? Like, freeze-in-my-tracks scared? Yeah. I don't know why it's paralyzing with my writing. I've done lots of performing in my life, and the cycle of audition-rejection-audition-sometimes make it didn't break me. I can do this, right?

I gave my daughter a book about writing for Christmas (she has authoristic ambitions already, bless her soul, and she's GOOD, so I hope she doesn't ever get scared to try!) called "Spilling Ink", and I happened to open it and flip to a chapter all about giving yourself permission to write a messy rough draft. One important point in the chapter is that as readers, we tend to think of the finished product as though it's the first thing the author typed out and it was born perfect. This is just not true. Published novels go through years, sometimes, of revisions, rewriting and editing and cutting and changing and the point is-- it's okay if your first draft isn't perfect. It's even okay if some of it sucks, because it can be fixed later!

I have this perfectionist issue, I guess, in that I want all my writing to be perfect before I can consider it "done". I edit my blog posts by re-reading and revising 4 or 5 times before I publish them, so that they can be as good as I am able to make them, but for some reason, if my fiction writing is less than stellar, I freeze. If I haven't got everything planned out, I feel like I can't move forward. 

But I can.

I hereby give myself permission to write a sloppy, incomplete, imperfect first draft.

Let's just get something written, for heck's sake.

This goes for any of the creative arts, I suppose. If you're creating music, it will most likely need revision and correction and editing before it's "perfect". Unless you're Mozart. But who is?? 

Go create something. If it sucks? Make another. Keep working and learning and improving and creating. Life is made more beautiful by the creations of fellow humans, so share your talents! 

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