Just kidding. While they're certainly overused, that's not the only advice I have for you tonight. Though it's probably more straightforward and much more practical than the following four paragraphs.
The more complex and mysterious stuff starts here. I’ve shared these three posts with the hope that they might help someone else who’s struggling to get started, but perhaps they're really just for me. I wrote them to myself, and I called them pep talks for a reason. They're not just formulas, i.e. “Follow these clues and you’ll find a writing gold mine!” No, they're specific things I need to hear and do and tell to myself. They're exercises that work for me... sometimes. And telling them to myself has helped me see a number of things that are holding me back. I mean I already knew what most of them were, but getting them out of my head and down here in black and white – it helps somehow.
I want to finish this series out strong, and I want it to have 3 solid parts, but tonight it feels like I’m coming up short. I just wrote a poem twenty minutes ago, spit the whole thing out in about ten minutes, and I have absolutely no clue whether it’s any good or not. I like it, but it feels like my sense of value is broken. I can no more evaluate good and bad than I can differentiate between onion and garlic after it's been diced and cooked together in vegetable oil. In other words, my brain power is spent. It’s been a long couple of weeks since I decided my motto for the next 40 days: reverse current state of being, from consumer to producer. Since then I’ve been derailed by pain and physical illness, and after several thinking-free hours of commercial-free TV, I feel less than motivated. I’ve managed to read a couple of good books though, and I believe I still possess the ability to string capitalized first letters to subject, verb and period. I also feel just as strongly as ever that this story, my story, is worth telling. I’ve even had one or two hours where I actually felt inspired, completely out of the blue. Scenes popped in my head and I saw exactly where they should go in my book. The trouble is that I never seem to be able to sit right down and work it all out right after I have those visions. They always come in the middle of doing something else, like taking a shower, and then I have to go and do whatever it was that required my taking a shower in the first place.
I think the real reason I say all this tonight is to remind myself, that despite everything, I am still committed to the long haul. I am in the thick of it. I want to keep working, but it’s going to take work and I’m going to continue to run into major roadblocks. That’s life, isn’t it? I believe the number one thing I can do for now is to imagine my own confidence. Pretend I’m doing well and let that feeling of success bolster me on toward new and longer paragraphs. All it takes is time and execution, right? Right?
You’ll get there one day, Janna. And though you wonder if it’s worth it, and if what you make will be good enough, or even good period, you’ve got nothing else to do but keep on trying. The story isn’t finished, and neither are you. Regardless of how you feel. And the one who started this good work in you… well, he’s faithful isn’t he? You know he is, otherwise there’d be no story to tell.