October 16, 2012

Just Say 'NO' to Writer's Anxiety

In Susan Shaughnessy's book of writing meditations, Walking on Alligators, she motivates writers to write everyday. My favorite section is where she talks about writer's anxiety. She includes a quote from Erica Jong: “Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.”

As writers, are we always walking in the dark? Every day we step out into the middle of nowhere and hope to come back with something in the cradle of our hands. When we do bring something back we doubt its totality.

Why is it that when we search for something we end up back in the same place we started? We fade into the unknown and into the small spaces of our breath.

When you get to this intersection of uncertainty, stop and confront it. Ask yourself why you are stuck. Ask yourself why you are giving up. Do you want it?

Somewhere in the dark though is the light that it takes us to rebuild again. Even when you feel that your ideas have run out into a field far, far away, go after them.

Susan's advice: Go into the dark with courage and breath deeply through your lungs. You are ready to follow your talent. You are ready to go into the dark.

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