“Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t let go. You are not done.” These were the powerful lyrics from a song by Kerrie Roberts that were pumping into my ears yesterday, filling my head with positive thoughts and my heart with the will to continue writing even when the voices of discouragement (see 12/29/10 blog post) threatened to hold me back. Nike really has something going with their “just do it” slogan. I mean, it’s a terrific way to overcome the procrastination that perfectionism tends to bring on. Don’t think about it: just do it. Don’t plan it: just do it. Don’t agonize over every detail: just do it. Don’t give up, give in, or let go: just do whatever you have to do to keep doing it.
This morning I finally felt inspired and bold enough to write something for my former grad school’s literary magazine. They have been soliciting submissions of poems, prose, and non-fiction for over a month and in early December I told myself I was going to submit something. A few weeks ago, I half-heartedly picked out a few of my poems from the last year and told myself I’d just submit those. But today, I felt like abandoning that plan. I opened up to a list of random words I had accumulated for one of my poems-in-progress and the first word in the list was “invisible”. So, I took that word and wrote the first thing that popped into my head: “I have been invisible for two years.” From there, I spent about an hour writing (trying not to perfect) a one-page, single-spaced story about someone who had become invisible two years ago, after struggling with the unbearable scrutiny of the glances and once-overs of everyday humans going about their business. Before doing too much editing, I sent the story off to two trusted friends, asking for their feedback. It’s a scary thing for me to share my writing with others. I find that sharing non-fiction is not so hard; it’s me. Take it or leave it. But I’ve built up fiction into this whole other ballgame; it’s probably not so different at all.
In any case, maybe someday soon I’ll be able to say that I have a fictional short story published in a literary magazine, one which will add to my published journal articles, poems, non-fiction essay, and book. It feels good to just do it. Has Fear or Perfectionism held you back from doing something? What’s the worst that could happen if you just do it?
Peace, joy, and health.