Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday Thirteen - About writing

Thirteen Things Jessica is thinking about the topic of writing!

1. I've been thinking about the topic of writing a lot lately. Probably because I haven't actually been writing. When I don't write, writing is on my mind all the time.

2. I still have lots of anxiety issues about writing. I thought they'd go away - or at least diminish - when I had my short story published. But, to my surprise, I think it's gotten worse.

3. One of the things I have problems with is my internal editor. He just won't shut up. Ever. I know I've blogged about this before (I'm just too lazy to find the link). Whenever I sit down to write - or even think about writing something - he steps in and tells me how stupid the idea is or how I'm just wasting my time.

4. For Christmas I got The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Whenever I'm browsing for books about writing or creativity in general, I come across references to this book. It's been around for ten years and it's supposed to be very helpful for removing blocks to creativity. I'm going to make a concerted effort to follow the program and see what happens. One of the activities the book recommends is "morning pages" where every morning you try to write - long hand - three pages of whatever. It's not a journal, it's not writing. It's more like a stream of consciousness mind dump. This morning I started doing it and my internal editor went crazy because he hates stream of consciousness.

5. When I started this Thursday Thirteen, I thought I'd have no problem coming up with thirteen things to say about writing. I was wrong.

6. My mom is creative - she's an artist. Among other things, she draws, paints, sews, does decoupage and needlepoint. Lately she's been into photography and creating her own cards from photos she's taken. All my life I've compared myself to her in the realm of creativity and I always felt like I fell short. I could never draw like she does. I hate sewing. Needlepoint is too tedious for me. I wasn't any good at the things she was good at. That doesn't mean I wasn't creative - just in different ways. Maybe because my creative outlets were different from my mom's, I didn't value them as much as I should have.

7. I know this sounds cliche but I always worried that a creative career wasn't "practical" enough. I started working at a talent agency after college because I could be close to the arts but still get paid a (not really) decent salary. That's something that Julia Cameron talks about in The Artist's Way - people who dream of being artists but are afraid to take the risks often go into careers associated with the arts. Eventually, I became dissatisfied with what I was doing. I thought it was because there wasn't enough of an intellectual challenge which is why I ended up a law school. Looking back I think I was wrong. I was probably dissatisfied because of the lack of creative challenge.

8. Not that I didn't like law school. It was an intellectual challenge and - in a different way - a creative challenge as well. It involves lots of writing, some of it creative. I wrote some kick ass papers. One of my favorites was a paper about why the enforcement of animal protection laws could violate the separation between church and state because some religions use animal sacrifice as part of their ritual. What made it most interesting is that, at the time, I was a vegetarian. I started writing the paper thinking I would come out on the side of animal protection and ended up on the side of religious freedom - even when it involved something I found personally abhorrent.

9. That's the great thing about writing - for me at least. The act and the process of writing helps me learn things about myself that aren't otherwise accessible to my conscious mind.

10. I started working on a book awhile back and was making some progress (well, for ME a couple short chapters is progress) but I stopped working on it. The idea of writing a book is overwhelming and my internal editor tells me I'll never do it and I'm not sure where the plot is going and I'm not sure I want to go where the characters appear to be taking me and I worry that even if I do write something it'll be so bad that everyone who reads it will laugh at me and I'll feel like I did back in junior high. Awkward and unlovable. Have I mentioned that I didn't really like junior high very much?

11. Here are my writing-related new year's resolutions: 1) do The Artist's Way program, 2) continue to work on the book, 3) write some more short stories and submit them for publication, 4) go over the class notes from the writing class I took and try to incorporate more of those lessons in my current writing, 5) blog more regularly.

12. I've never been very good at keeping new year's resolutions. That's why I tend to keep them to myself so no one will know that I broke my resolution just days after the new year. So now I'm making my resolutions public (at least the writing-related ones). Hopefully that'll shame me into keeping them!

13. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy new year!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Dutch said...

don't listen to that internal editor. the thing is, he'd be terribly jealous to see you succeed. that's why he's such a prick.

JK :) said...

Hey try not to compare yourself to others. All of us are creative in our own little ways. Discover those hidden talents ;)

Happy writing :)

Running2Ks said...

One of my favorite books I read recently is "On Writing" by Stephen King. Particularly in how he suggests to draft a book--and how to deal with the internal editor--I found that to be very helpful. I believe in you!

Charity said...

I can completely relate to your list! Well with exception to the law school thing...I am a psych major.

Everyday I tell myself that I need to write...and then I either blog or only write in my is what I use when I get ideas, or have a dream I liked.

It is very frusterating! Drive on! Keep it going and don't think of them as resolutions. Maybe think of them as creative suggestions.

Amanda said...

If you can write two chapters you can write a book - a book is just two chapters, then another two chapters etc

Don't worry about the internal editor - send it on holiday whilst you write the book, then invite it back to have a look.

If you don't like what you've written, then put things right one page at a time.

Happy New Year!

Carol said...

Oh I know ALL about that internal editor. He (or she) drives me NUTS! Enjoyed reading your Thursday Thirteen.

landismom said...

Welcome back! There was a point in my life when it was my greatest ambition to be a writer. Then, I realized that sitting alone by myself in a room would slowly (or perhaps not-so-slowly) drive me crazy. I admire you enormously for being able to do the thing that I can't do myself.

Jessica said...

Thanks for all your encouraging comments! Reading them makes me want to sit down and write. I'll have to blog about writing more often!

JK - I can't seem to get to your blog, my computer always hangs up. Is there a URL I can put in? Maybe that will work better than clicking the link to your initials.

Landismom - I know what you mean about going crazy being alone in a room. I'm a social creature at heart but the solo act of writing helps balance that out.

MIM said...

Yeah! You're back. And keep writing. That editor has no idea what the fuck he's talking about. n I mean, when was the last time HE published something???

Caryn said...

Good luck with your writing. I agree with much of what you wrote on your list, especially 7 & 8. I don't feel creative at all because I have friends who paint or who dress flamboyantly or whatever, and I don't do that. I just quietly write. And read, of course. Oh, and I hated middle school, too!

My thirteen are up, by the way. They're one post down (maybe two, since I'm going to put another post on today.)

Jessica said...

Although I've always loved writing, one of my first career considerations was law - you and I have a few things in common, dear!