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Thursday, 18 January 2018

WRITERS ON WRITING #103: Anne Lamott


Is it okay with you that you blow off your writing, or whatever your creative/spiritual calling, because your priority is to go to the gym or do yoga five days a week?  Would you give us one of those days back, to play or study poetry?  To have an awakening?  Have you asked yourself lately, 'How alive am I willing to be?'  It’s all going very quickly.  It’s mid-May, for God’s sake.  Who knew.  I thought it was late February.
  It’s time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens.  But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce.  It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published.  (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion — your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, 'Oh, you’re writing again? That’s nice. Do you have an agent?')… Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?  It’s going to break your heart.  Don’t let this happen.  Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you.  Repentance is a blessing.  Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that.  Shoot the moon.

Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1995)


Click HERE to read the full 2014 article about US novelist ANNE LAMOTT posted on the excellent Brain Pickings website maintained by MARIA POPOVA.

You might also enjoy:
WRITERS ON WRITING #84: Edith Wharton
WRITERS ON WRITING #63: Robert Cormier
WRITERS ON WRITING #7: Glenda Adams

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