May 24, 2010

Blasted "P" Word

It makes me sad when I hear people say, "I wish I could write, paint, or ____________  (fill in the blank) but I can't."

It's that blasted P word.  We tell ourselves it must be perfect or not attempt it.  But no one learns to sing or build or dance in one sitting.  They practice.  They fail.  They try again. 

There used to be a ditty on Sesame Street that went, "Practice and tomorrow I'll be better than today".  At the age of five, my eldest daughter taught herself to skate chanting that mantra.  I still hear her little sing-song voice when I'm tempted to give up.

The photo above is a painting I made for my Mother.  It's not my best work.  There are so many things I would like to redo but I gave it to her for Mother's Day anyway--as is.  I'm learning to let go of my expectations.  The painting is not perfect but it's from my heart to hers and it touched her deeply. 

We withhold beautiful connections from the world in the name of perfectionism.

What's something you've always wanted to do but never thought you could?

May 18, 2010

Dishwater Writing

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes."  ~Agatha Christie

I've been doing lots of this kind of writing lately.  The "I'm-doing-a-boring-chore-and-thinking-through-the-next-scene" kind of writing.  But I've also been doing quite a bit of the "sit-at-the-computer-and-please-just-put-SOMETHING-down" kind of writing too.  I've been working on a story that I'm in love with.'s still in the early stages; I haven't made it to the editing/hating phase yet.

But to keep my sanity and help organize my home, I had to slow down my computer time and put in elbow grease into the bathrooms and laundry.  Somehow this quote has really helped me.  I don't begrudge the tasks now; they've become my friends.  A place to develop dialog, or add to a scene, or even consider how my character's house looks.

When I'm neck-deep in life I struggle to keep up with writing (including blogging).  Even though I know that living life helps my writing; I struggle with compartmentalizing my writing life and my real life.  I would like them to sit happily side by side but I haven't figured out the beautiful balance of that yet.

How do you couple real life with your writing life?