Saturday, August 11, 2012

Once More on Writing...

   I haven't been writing much lately, not here and really not anywhere. I can't tell whether my self imposed daily writing requirement burned me out or if it was actually helping. Either way I'm sure my attitude going in to each days writing (most days of which could be more accurately described as merely typing) did more to harm my spirit than the practice itself. The results of this exercise remind me of the saying I've heard countless times "Practice doesn't make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect". Meaning doing the same thing over and over again, making the same mistakes, going into the activity with the wrong motivations only builds a form of mental muscle memory that propels you to further repeat your mistakes. The wrongness (behaviors or thought patterns) become quickly ingrained. Doing something right 3 times, even if it takes longer, does more towards perfecting (or at least mastering) your craft than doing it wrong 30 times.

   With writing this is hard to gauge since how do you know, being a writer and not an editor (and oh God am I not an editor), what exactly you are doing wrong. And what constitutes as perfection or mastery? While I don't have those answers figured out in their entirety I do know that mentally viewing writing as a chore has done nothing to improve my output or the quality of it. This does not mean that the exercise was a wastes however, in fact, it was the opposite. I learned something about myself. While inspiration does most often "find me working" (come when I am actively writing in spite of a lack of inspiration), if I am going through the motions begrudgingly... if I don't get my head right in advance of touching my fingers to the keyboard or my pen to paper, then I am warding off inspiration even more effectively than if I were not writing at all.

   So here's to an attitude shift. A renewed resolution to view my writing as a gift. A responsibility rather than an obligation... the distinction of which makes all the difference.

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