Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Writer's Alphabet - J is for 'just breathe"

Writing is a tension-filled sport.  Angsty, really.  As writers, we are always freaking out about something.  We worry the words won't come.  Or that when they do, they'll suck.  We spaz out that we will NEVER be "discovered", we will NEVER finish this chapter, there is NO WAY we can edit all these pages, and SERIOUSLY DOUBT we can meet that deadline.  Our lives are filled with dates, words, and the delete key.  The goddamned, ass hat of a delete key.

In times like this, when I am running my hands through my hair and chasing the family out of the living room, I am so lucky to have the mum I have.  Her words flood me just as surely as the Beatles' Mother Mary coming to me, speaking words of wisdom and calming me the hell down.

Two mantras.  Just eight words for one and two only for the other.   But, each one makes me slow down, rethink my position, consider my surroundings, and get centered with myself.
"Just do the next thing on the list" and "just breathe".  The first makes me think rationally about the things I need to accomplish.  I don't make a giant goal, like "Finish my novel". The next thing on my list is a doable goal, like "Finish this chapter" or "Figure out who should die".  Making the goals surmountable makes me feel great when I reach them.  And through it all, I remember to "just breathe".

Medical journals all say the same thing as my brilliant and insightful mum: taking a deep breath and forcing air into your lungs awakens your brain and stimulates your creative center.  So for me, "just breathe" means just that: take a deep breath and close your eyes.  Let the breath out slowly. Then grab that laptop and let the creative forces sweep you away.  This happens for me every time.  I hope it always does.

Also, I have recently added a new mantra to my list and I think it fits perfectly with the others.
What do you think?

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