Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Courage to Write


"Courage is only an accumulation of small steps." - George Konrad

Writing is also an accumulation of small steps. It starts with a pen, an open laptop, a keyboard, or a hammer and chisel against a piece of stone. It begins with the simple act of moving the hand in a particular fashion, fingers gripping or tapping, following the racing mind. To work on my book, I must first open the file. To open the file, I must sit or stand before the computer. To sit or stand before the computer, I must move across the house to my desk.

Unfortunately, moving across the house to my desk is often a herculean task. I balk and stew and do a myriad other things before simply heading in the general direction of my work. Resistance is so huge, I feel it thrum in my brain.

This is when I ask for courage. I ask some part of my brain, the adult part, the part that actually wants to do the work, to activate. Or maybe it's the little girl part, the part that really enjoys the work once I get started. It's okay that I don't know how this works. What's important is that I have experienced it work in the past. What's important is that I recognize that I will not get anything done unless I ask. Asking creates willingness and willingness generates action. With willingness, I take a small step toward the desk. With one small step across the room, before I know it, I am in front of the computer.

The next key is to simply open the file without resorting to internet surfing. The peril of the web looms large. I avoid it by asking for more courage. Again I channel that part of me that wants to do the work. She's hiding in there somewhere. I ask until I find the mouse on the filename and the screen open to my document, the book, my baby. There she is.

The final step is simply moving the cursor to the place in the book that needs the work. Often the exact location where I begin is not important. What matters is that I begin somewhere. My mind will make order out of chaos if I just let myself begin. I'd love to hear how you find the courage to write.