Posts tagged ‘humor’

September 18, 2011

Just write already… but don’t share it all, OK?

Seriously, what the hell is the big deal?

You wanna have a blog, you gotta write. It’s that simple.

I have always been expressive. Flute, ballet, singing, acting… Later on it was dj’ing, directing… But always writing. From the first diary entries back in fifth grade (shopping lists, mostly, and laments about being flatchested and boys that ignored me… ahem, clearly connected), to the later journal pages, poems, essays, short stories, plays… aaah, so many words.

So much crap.

It’s like that when you’re writing. Really, if you’re putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) on a regular basis, then 90% of what you’re writing is usually crap. But it’s the crap you have to get out of your system if you wanna get to the good stuff.

With me, I usually start out with overwrought cliches, trite phrases and predictable, badly mixed metaphors. Once I get those out of the way, I move on to talking ABOUT what I want to say. Finally, at some point, when I can calm down and stop thinking about who is going to read my stuff, how it might be received, and what I’m gonna wear on the book tour, I actually get to the point.

Once in a while, I lock into something that is inspired by something beyond my control. I like this. A lot. It reminds me of when I used to study the flute, and after a bunch of years, when I had practiced enough and started to develop some chops, I could actually play faster than I could read music. It was like my fingers had developed a mind of their own, and they would fly across the keys beyond my ability to consciously register their every move.

You wanna get to the really quality shit? You have to slog through the garbage. You have to practice every day. You have to get to where your ideas are flowing through your fingers faster than your mind registers the writing down of each and every letter. You need to put in your time, baby.

Julia Cameron had it right. That’s why The Artist’s Way is a classic, and has been translated into I don’t know how many languages, and she’s probably done very well for herself, thank you very much. Those morning pages are the real deal. Ya gotta do em. Ya gotta keep writing. Just do it.

But here’s the thing… You may want to think twice about sharing EVERYTHING you write. I mean, I know that every moment in your day is quite profound, and the level of detail you’ve put into some of those descriptions is, well… admirable. But you need to think about your readers. What are they experiencing as they read your stuff? Are you imparting anything worth sharing? Is there a lesson in all that verbiage? Some humor? Some insight into the human condition? Any advice? Words of warning? New information? Anything??

Blogging is a dangerous business. I know this. It’s very tempting to believe that because you can publish your words at will, that everything you have to say is worth reading. Sadly, this is just not the case. For most of us.

And believe me when I tell you, I am working to take my own advice.

Note: I have not been paid by Julia Cameron to promote her book or her online course. She doesn’t need my help to sell her stuff.

Photo courtesy of malsicuro

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June 16, 2011

A few things about me I felt like sharing

OK, so here’s the way my sense of humor works. Dry, sarcastic, switching pronouns (you=me, etc.) and definitely assuming that you can read my mind. What do you mean you don’t know where I’m coming from? How is that possible?

I’m self-deprecating, at the same time as I celebrate life, love, friendship and the fickle finger of fate. I’m irreverent, with little respect for authority or boundaries, and I particularly like taboo subjects, hot topics, and stuff I’m not supposed to say in mixed company. Paradoxically, I’m also terribly afraid of offending or unintentionally insulting or hurting someone’s feelings. So I would not make a good Don Rickles or Kathy Griffin.

Here’s the way my mind works. I’ve been told by a therapist to “keep the drama on the stage.” I thought that was really good advice. I was also extremely relieved when said therapist also informed me, “You’re not that important,” in response to my intense concern of what others were thinking of me. In other words, they’re not. Such liberation from the tyranny of self-consciousness.

I do not like to be TOO careful. I find it very stifling. Although I’d prefer a little more order (I’m working on it), controlled chaos is my default environment. I usually run a few minutes late. I like to improvise when I cook. I’m more inclined to show off my curves now than ten years ago. Also, I’m pretty sure that having a baby sucked most of the spare brain cells out of my head. There are very few alternates left in there now, in case of emergencies.

I really like to be helpful. I like to introduce people to each other for business and pleasure. Theirs. I have realized that I will never be able to do everything I imagine. Ever. I’m less prone to guilt now than ever before. I figure these are all useful qualities to have at the same time, as I’m more apt to take chances and try to start up ideas and projects in new groups, and not feel too badly if it all doesn’t work out.

I believe everyone is ultimately responsible for their own feelings. Don’t tell me I made you feel something. I may have encouraged it, but never exerted force. I do like to inspire joy, though… and if I can make you laugh – well now, that’s really something.

I do not advocate fear as a foundation. It makes one extremely reactive and short sighted. I’ve learned to sit with my panic, let it filter through me for a bit, hold off on making that dreaded phone call, or hitting send on the anxiety ridden e-mail until I’ve had a chance to think things through. Most of the time, what I fear is something along the lines of judgment or failure. Interestingly enough, I seem to be my harshest critic, but even I can be persuaded to let up a little when given some time to relax and reconsider.

I’ve been through some fairly heavy losses and major challenges – enough to give me some perspective on current problems. There is little that ranks up there with long drawn out illness and death of a loved one. It certainly puts parking tickets in another light, I’ll tell you that.

You wanna hear my biggest challenge right now? Maintaining the courage to realize my dreams. I find that it helps to think in small, bite-sized pieces. To-do lists, action plans, project spread sheets… aaah, yes, soothing balms for the creative spirit.

Oh and one last bit. These words on a page? Can’t get too attached to them as though they’re precious jewels or babies. You have to be ready to cut them at a moment’s notice. Anyone can write a bunch of stuff, but to be brave enough to choose which parts work and throw away the rest? That takes a bit of doing. And then you realize, there’s no such thing as perfection. Ever.