“Part of the problem is that you’re weird and you know it. Whatever made you talented as a kid also served to make you a bit odd.” ~Sam Bennett
Sound familiar? Feel more than a little accurate?
I spent bits of the weekend trying to explain to my boyfriend why I seem somewhat tortured when I don’t write “enough.” What happens for me when the words avalanche and I’m dodging and twisting so as not to get buried. For a man totally focused on a core business he LOVES that in his mind has “nothing to do with art or creativity” (I beg to differ, but let’s humor him), trying to make sense of his girlfriend’s mind, much less the global head of a writer, is no easy or even welcomed task.
So last night before bed, after fumbling to pull up Dani Shapiro’s latest blog post on my phone–“Listen, honey; maybe this will better explain what I go through”– I read this to him:
“… when I’m not writing, I’m not well. The world is leached of color. My brain is fuzzy. My heart, overfull, hurting. Sentences wind around and around me –– unwritten –– and form a sticky, uncomfortable web. These unwritten sentences don’t wait. They are alive, and like any living thing, untended, they wither and decay. They calcify, then turn to dust. They will not appear again –– not in this precise way. Each day that I don’t capture them, they are gone forever.”
“That’s what it feels like,” I said.
He looked at me and I knew what he was thinking. Narcissists, the lot of them. Thank God I’m not a writer. No wonder so many of them end up lonely and drunk. And I’m not sure he isn’t right. But his thoughts, spot on or not, don’t change how I’m wired. Or the fact that I’m odd. And that I was born this way. That each day I don’t “capture” those very alive words and instead watch them wither and decay I don’t ache to go after them even at the expense of other lovely and oh-so-dear things.
And guess what? I’m a happy person! My sister says I was born with the serotonin of 5 people! My first book was called Lives Charmed for God’s sake… a title birthed from a zillion people throughout my life asking me why I was so happy, so “charmed.” I’m grateful for that, I really am. But what the hell does that mean for writers with regular hormone levels? I shudder.
Here’s what I’ve learned after years of this craziness. You can have it all. Yeah. In fits and starts and even sometimes all at once. But it’s got to be scheduled. It’s got to be as daily as you can get it (even fifteen minutes, as Sam Bennett says). It’s got to get out of your head and onto a page or it’ll never be on bookstore shelves. And that’s such a shame. Because it’s easier just to write the damned book already. I promise. Done it enough for myself and others to know that for sure by now.
When I announced my coming (Thur!) Your Big Beautiful Book Plan tele-course last week, I had no idea how many people on my list had been feeling this pain. The torture of those dying, avalanching words. Turns out, we odd ones are strong in numbers. “I’d been praying for some kind of help,” I heard dozens of times. “I’ve been about to give up,” “I can’t do this alone,” “I need accountability or it’s never going to happen for me.” I get it. We all do. That’s why Danielle LaPorte and I wrangled our schedules and overflowing minds a few years ago to create this program.
It is my great wish that like Sam Bennett, who’s new book, Get It Done (birthed after she followed Your Big Beautiful Book Plan) is selling like mad and beloved by critics and stars and readers everywhere, that you will see the gift in your weirdness and share it with the world.
See you Thursday? Can’t wait to have you join us! What are you writing? Hold yourself accountable by stating what you’ll be working on here. (A little social pressure will only help you capture those words and make them more real:))
“I was stuck in the mire of being halfway done with my book proposal, and YBBBP rescued me. Linda & Danielle are like the best wise fairy godmothers a writer could want. The depth of the program reassured me that I was on track, and their honey-we’ve-been-there-insights saved me hours of wasted time ‘chasing rabbits.” I got a book deal with the first and only publisher I submitted to (New World Library)! YBBBP gave me clarity, encouragement and the solid information I needed exactly when I needed it most. When I was a little girl I loved books so much that I wanted to grow up to be a writer; YBBBP helped make that dream come true.” [Note: Seth Godin calls this book an “instant classic” and “essential reading.”] ~Samantha Bennett | Author + founder, The Organized Artists Company