Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Benefits of Ritual (Sacrifice) #writerprobs

DISCLAIMER:  If you only came to this post with the hopes of reading about virgin sacrifice or something, I hate to disappoint--but I'm actually going to talk about something else.

You see, one of my current resolutions/goals is to self-criticize a little less and to be more "pro-Kory", self-love, acceptance and all that *&#^.

So, one way I've noticed that I am very critical is in the fact that I must do many (and I mean many) things before I sit down and write. I give myself a hard time about this because I recognize that it is part procrastination and also part avoidance. It is easier to scrub my toilet than to write a best-seller.

For example, today I had a good FOUR hours between the time when I got out of bed and when I needed to be at work. Any good and desperate writer would have marched right to her desk and gotten a helluva writing session done. According to my inner critic, that is what I should have done.

Instead, I cleaned the house, organized my to-do list, answered emails, put dinner in the crockpot, forced the dog to (begrudgingly) go out and pee in the rain, showered, got dressed for work, had breakfast, and put new music on my iPhone and I'm journaling this post--and this is very typical for me. I feel happiest when my life is in order. After all, it is hard to feel like life is out of control when your hair is fixed and you've got a chive-biscuit-topped pot pie going!

So I asked myself, what is so bad about doing all these things first? Am I really destroying my opportunity to write? Or am I actually doing a great deal of good? After all, when I write after cleaning and all of my work is done, I'm usually calmer. I'm usually in a more pleasing environment. Also, I'm usually more focused for that writing session. I've no pressing/nagging task distracting me from my writing. Also, when I do these tasks that do not require tons of thought, I am actually prepping for a good writing session. When I'm wiping down the counters or vacuuming my office or cutting up vegetables, I'm thinking about scenes that I want to tackle that day. I'm having conversations with my imaginary friends and making connections between big moments and themes and all those lovely things that make the writing good.

So maybe the key to success is actually allowing myself the time and space to get all the work done first and then settle down to writing with a clear, comfortable, focused and prepared mind.

Can my "ritual" be improved? Sure.

On days when I know time is an issue, I should probably get up a little earlier and start the cleaning/cooking so that I know I still have plenty of time to write. I could also time my ritual and figure out exactly how much "prep" work I need to do in the mornings and account for that too.

So what the hell is my point?

My point is that instead of beating myself up about cleaning and shoveling deliciousness into my mouth when I should be writing, I should make it a priority to see the good in it. Accept myself and my "process" and maybe I'll get more work done and be less mentally exhausted. After all, I'll certainly have more mental energy for writing if I haven't just spent 4 hours bashing myself!

It's hard to feel pumped and excited after such beatings!

And what about you? In what ways could your writing (or life) benefit from acceptance rather than self-criticism?

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