Trying Not to Write. So I Can Write.

I am taking off the month of April. At least, this is my plan. 

Although technically it seems I’m already violating my plan by writing these words here and now, this is writing, as opposed to WRITING. There’s a difference.

I’ve been working on what feels like a VERY IMPORTANT WRITING PROJECT , one that has been percolating and haunting and torturing me for almost ten years now. Recently, I got very serious about finishing and polishing this project. I enlisted constructive feedback from mentors and trusted fellow writers and took many classes to refine my craft, and although this input is extremely helpful, I find myself…in a word… 


There are too many voices in my head. Too much instruction. 

Is this how it works for some of us? The more we write, the more we learn about the craft and structure and secret inner workings of writing, the harder we try to get it right, the more impossible it is…to actually write? 

The good news is that I know what my problem is. I am right-brained. An ENFP. A Gemini. (If any of that matters.) My jam is intuition and gut-feels and expansive skin-tingling soul emotions. 

So I’ve come to the conclusion there is only one thing I can do. 

I need to stop trying so hard. I need to find my JOY. 

To re-discover the MAGIC.  To trust my intuition and imagination and heart tugs.

We’re not playing to win. We’re playing to play. And ultimately, playing is fun. Perfectionism gets in the way of fun. A more skillful goal might be to find comfort in the process...Setting the bar low, especially to get started, frees you to play, explore, and test without attachment to results. This is not just a path to more supportive thoughts. Active play and experimentation until we’re happily surprised is how the best work reveals itself.

From The Creative Act: A Way of Being, by Rick Rubin.

Last week, I took an impromptu walk around Walden Pond and fell in love with awakening emerald moss, lacey gray-green lichen, the majestic repose of a dead branch with curling bark, and last fall’s oak leaves in the shallows, magnified in clean cold water that rippled in the sunlight. This helped. 

I started working on a collage, ripping up patterned papers, ancient sheets of music and an old National Geographic magazine, to create messy images that please and inspire me. This too, is helping.

I’m reading for fun instead of research. Dancing with my grand-baby in the kitchen to songs I make up for her on the spot. Writing journal entries with zero stakes that make me feel free. Writing this. 

It is Spring. Nature is waking up, and so I hope, is my joy. 

No more work. It’s time to play.

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