I had a different post scheduled for today. I wanted to have a conversation about the importance of taking care of oneself, but what I wrote made me nauseous. I felt ill at ease when I revised and edited it; I felt ill at ease when I tentatively scheduled the post; I felt ill at ease when I scheduled it; and I felt ill at ease on Monday and Tuesday. Thus, I scrapped the post Tuesday evening. It’s gone to the rubbish bin, and there it shall remain until it becomes something worthy of being published.
I confess I thought actual rules existed in regard to “couple,” “few,” “some,” “several,” and “many.” I was mistaken. There are no firm rules, only guidelines, and those are based on what sound and feel right.
Ahem. To find inspiration, you sit in front of your laptop or your pad of paper, and you wait. You wait quietly and without complaint. You wait for the thunderbolt, the lightning strike, the flash of genius. You do not write, you do not draw, you do not do anything. You are an automaton awaiting the gift of inspiration. If you betray inspiration by getting to work, inspiration will betray you…
It’s been said that passion drives change. I don’t agree. I think passion can be a catalyst or an adrenaline rush, but it is not the driver of change. Passion, on its own, falters quickly. It is not meant for the long-term, and the long-term is what is in question when it comes to systemic change.
It’s easy to get lost in the daily grind: you get up, go through your morning routine, go to work, maybe take a lunch break, return to work, go home, have dinner, maybe relax with the family. Rinse and repeat for five days a week. It becomes normal, comfortable. It lulls you into a sense of safety and security. You forget to ask if your routine is the best one, although you sometimes wonder. You wonder if it’s the best way. You wonder if it’s the most productive way.
Several weeks ago, I sent an e-letter that talked about not giving up. Ralph Dopping happened to read it, and he replied to it with a question: “How do you battle self-doubt?” I thought and thought about the question, then I sent a reply to Ralph. I also asked him if a follow-up blog post might be warranted. He didn’t seem to mind either way, so, here I am, writing a blog post about how to battle self-doubt.
Richard Hugo says to write with the tool that brings the writer the most sensual satisfaction. For Hugo, it was a number 2 pencil. He felt good putting the words on paper when he used one or two or more. Hugo liked to be prepared. He would sharpen about twenty pencils before settling into the act of writing. When one pencil dulled, he grabbed another.
Many conversations have occurred about whether introverts or extroverts are better at certain tasks than others. For instance, extroverts generally are thought to be better salespeople than introverts. Are they? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Some extroverts can be so outgoing and opinionated that they alienate the person to whom they are selling, perhaps even more so if they are attempting to sell to an introvert. An introvert won’t appreciate the pushiness. He or she either will succumb to pressure, push back, or retreat to the safety found outside the store.
The blank page often is thought of as a curse. Writers bemoan it. They even wail about it. They fret and stew about the blank page. They worry about putting words on the page. They worry about not putting words on the page. They fear the blank page will haunt them for the rest of their lives. They wonder when the blank page will stop being such a bully and let them write. They wonder if they can stage a coup. They fear the blank page already knows their plans to rebel, so they hide. They avoid the blank page. They make a pot of coffee. They wash the dishes or fold the laundry. They pretend they can’t see the blank page from the corner of their eye, but they know it’s there, glowering, waiting.