I try to spend more time writing than thinking about writing, but it’s inevitable that my thoughts will turn to this task I have adopted and to all the emotions and implications that surround it.
To address this, I keep a small journal in which I update my thoughts on writing. In fact, journal is a generous term, it’s more like a loose collections of thoughts and affirmations that I revisit and revise every three to six months. As of late, I have been at it again. Below are my 2014 affirmations, acceptances, and/or mantras in regard to my writing life:
1- As punk rocker Frank Turner states: “The only thing that’s left to do is to live.” When I am done writing and working hard to promoting my writing, I need to let it go and enjoy life itself. I need to tackle my chores with a clear head and to enjoy life now (as obvious as that sounds), not in some hypothetical future that may never be. I need to enjoy my children and coffee and family trips and playing board games and sandwiches and reading now.
2- Trying to be be clever is an act of vanity. The biggest problem with the internet is that it sells me daily on the idea that some act of cleverness will lead to easy success. And now there’s a voice in my head that echoes the internet. I need constant amnesty from this idea.
3- I must be careful not to conflate financial success with pride/ confidence. I can be proud of my work without there being money. The best I have to offer might never make any real money. Being a pragmatist, there is a part of me that cannot deny the link between success and material acquisition. I think this connection between pride and money will always be a problem for me. See Diana Senechal’s important essay about Western Culture and the narrowing of the definition of success.
4- I am not a writer; I am only a book. Further, each novel I write is the work of a short lifetime, and I am lucky to have many short lifetimes. People are not always so lucky.
5- Time cannot be allowed to become my monster. As David Byrne has stated in various songs: “Time isn’t holding us. Time isn’t after us.” and “Life is long if you give it away.” I’m not even entirely sure what the fuck this means and how it applies to writing, but it seems important. I will continue investigating. Maybe in a few years, I’ll get a better picture.
6- Writing is not the key to anything except becoming a better writer. And it’s often lonely, like wandering an arctic wilderness. That’s what the empty page is: an ice-land. Nor will it necessarily make me happier. Nevertheless, it bring satisfaction, and sometimes at the most surprising moments. Also, I’m pretty good at doing it.
7- Out of the blue, I have stumbled onto my lifetime. I have accidentally established home turf and identity. Now I must go and fight like hell for it; I must be its champion.