Monday, February 20, 2012

Setting up shop in the java joints

The coffee barristas of Calgary will all soon know me by name…

This past couple of weeks, I've been frequenting the coffee shops in my hood to create some space to write. And write. And write.

I've been deeply inspired by my friend Jayson who published his book 52 People at the end of last year. I ran into him almost a month ago and holding a physical copy of his masterpiece gave me goosebumps.

I've been working on a personal memoir for nearly 3 years now. It's been an up and down process - sometimes I feel intense motivation and sometimes I stare at a blank page for months. In fact, I backed away entirely from the project last September because I was so stuck that I couldn't even figure out where I was in the story. It seemed as if it was just a jumble of words and I was insanely overwhelmed. I had lost my writers voice. I was beyond frustration and felt like I had hit a brick wall. Writers block had taken it's grasp and it was holding on tight.

I trusted that motivation would come again. I just knew that it would, but I didn't know when. I just couldn't force it.

Finally, after months of waiting and trying to fight off guilt, it hit me on that day that Jay handed me a copy of his book.

Looking back to those times when I've been stuck, I think there's a large part of me that was afraid no one would buy my book. When I get writers block, it's because I start to edit before I even get the words out. I'm afraid that what I'm writing won't sound eloquent and it won't provide resonating messages for my readers. I get caught up in thinking, "No one will ever publish this" and I let that thought control me.

Seeing Jay and hearing about his novelistic experience gave me hope. There's a way! I don't want to sell a million copies. Hell, I'm probably going to give most of them away. What I do care about is that I don't want all of my experiences, stories and lessons learned to go to waste and be stuck inside my mind and heart. I want to share them and I am hopeful that they can bring knowledge and inspiration to someone. If they can help one person, then it's worth it.

I've realized that art is a war. You can't always have the creativity flowing through you. When you force it or you edit yourself, then you create a giant road block.

So, I am focused and determined to get my stories out and to get this sucker published. I am just writing and writing and writing and writing. I'm trying not to judge it. I'm trying not to read it back and make sure it sounds sensible. I'm just trying to get it all out and then I am going to figure out a way to put it together into something that makes sense. I'll probably need someone to help me, but I will face that bridge once everything's divulged.

Until then, maybe I should make up a name tag so that reads, "I'm not a stalker, I'm just determined to finish my book".

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